What Are You So Worried About?
Worried belief: The world is unsafe. It's only natural to worry.
Better belief: You can still be safe in an unsafe world. By making your personal situation safe, you add to the world's overall security.
Worried belief: Life is full of accidents and random bad things. I have to be on the lookout for them.
Better belief: Accidents can be prevented with useful measures like wearing a seat belt and not living in a flood zone. Once the precaution is in place, there's nothing more to do. By definition, unpredictable things cannot be foreseen.
Worried belief: You inherited the worry gene. You can't help it.
Better belief: You learned how to worry, so you can unlearn how to worry. It's a habit rooted in your sense of insecurity. By becoming more secure in yourself, you can gain control over your fears.
In addition, a recovering worrier should write down certain basic facts and consult the list regularly to see if their belief system is starting to match reality.
- You aren't helping the situation by worrying. You will be of greater help by pitching in on a practical basis.
- You aren't improving anyone else's life by worrying about them. To improve their lives, be supportive and appreciative.
- Not to worry is psychologically healthy. Non-worriers aren't being careless or negligent.
- Worry is a sign of deeper anxiety. It is healed by addressing that deeper level.
- Worry is making you unhappy. This is reason enough to give it up.
- Worry leads to bad decisions because they are colored by needless, unrealistic fears. If you want a better life, you need good decisions.
- Worry shuts out others who want to be close to you. The more you worry, the farther away they will go.
Worriers, like other anxious people, don't understand why their fears seemingly come out of the blue. “I wasn’t doing anything. I was having a normal day, when suddenly I was hit by this certainty that something bad was going to happen.” The hidden element is that anxious people need to be vigilant all the time. So when things settle down, it’s only a matter of time before they notice they aren't being vigilant. Anxiety jumps to the "rescue," putting them back into their familiar groove.
Next: Stop anxiety before it starts