Take this short quiz and rate the following True or False.
- I identify myself as a worrier.
- I often notice that I’m thinking too much.
- I enjoy what I’m thinking more often than not.
- I could feel much better if only I knew how to shut off my mind.
- I can get myself off of disturbing trains of thought and onto pleasant things.
- Sometimes I drive myself crazy.
- Thoughts and images often occur to me that really disturb me.
- I really don’t spend much time over-thinking.
(See Scoring Key at the bottom of the page)
- Someone who’s developed the skills to turn aside unhealthy worry and gain the upper hand over anxiety.
- You can be a worrybuster by mastering mental strategies for turning disturbing worry aside, allowing you to distance from it, weakening worry’s grip, pushing through clouds of worry and rumination, and doing more of what you really care about.
By becoming a worrybuster, you will truly improve your life. If you worry too much, the busy noisiness of your mind may be keeping your brain cluttered and subduing your strong, natural emotions. By overcoming unhealthy worry, worrybusters discover that they can steady their minds, regain their emotional richness, long muted beneath clouds of overthinking, and restore their self-confidence. As unhealthy worry subsides, our minds clear so that we can better engage in what we care about the most.
Don’t Worry Yourself Sick
Chronic and Generalized Anxiety Disorder Therapy
End Perpetual Worry!!
Chronic anxiety needn’t last a lifetime. Generalized anxiety and other anxiety conditions characterized by intense or relentless worry or obsessing are very treatable. Many people improve greatly or overcome chronic anxiety entirely with the help of a therapist who specializes in treatment of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) – I specialize in generalized anxiety disorder therapy as well as other disorders that involve excessively anxious thinking and intense underlying fears or dread.
Nourishing Food for Thought
• You are not your anxiety. You’re a person with a wealth of emotions, attributes, and experiences, and anxiety is an “unwelcome guest”.- just an aspect of you.
• A catastrophic thought is only an unusually disturbing theory about the future.
• Instead of looking at the world through anxiety’s grunge-colored glasses or false optimism’s rose-colored glasses, take a step back, look clearly, and you can see reality.
• Remember that despite your doubts and fears, your life has generally proven not to be so awful for you.
Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by “exaggerated worry and tension” about everyday things. People with GAD “often expect the worst, even when there is no apparent reason for concern.” Women are twice as likely as men to be affected; but, all told, about 6.8 million adults in the U.S. suffer from GAD each year. It’s not unusual for a person with GAD to worry up to two-thirds of her wakeful hours. “Uncontrollable worry is the essential GAD characteristic”: People with GAD “don’t know how to stop the worry cycle and feel it’s beyond their control. . .
Many people with GAD tend to be highly responsible and make sure to take care of what’s important for themselves and those who rely on them. Instead of experiencing the satisfaction of accomplishment, their restless minds may move on to the next unresolved issue. The “inner spring” of anxiety may just feel coiled too tight to achieve composure. The branch of the central nervous system that cools us way down after we’re dealt with demands or intense stress seems to malfunction in people with GAD, so they actually may not be able to engage in the 3 Rs –rest, relaxation, or recreation. Instead, their lives revolve around emotional matters so much that they have a great deal to have strong feelings about, but engulfing worry can interfere with the deepest, most intense of emotions.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy with a skilled therapist helps people with GAD stop overthinking, cease underrating their coping abilities, and quit exaggerating the chances of things coming out badly. Mindfulness-based techniques can help, too: Well-chosen strategies can enable you to experience thoughts and feelings with equanimity, rather than getting entangled in them or worn down by them. The result – RELIEF!
FIVE TACTICS FOR CURBING OVERWORRY
1. Detect worry early: Let yourself notice your anxious thoughts, gestures, or feelings as soon as they begin. Try to get the jump on your anxiety before it takes hold.
2. Try to reflect dispassionately. Discover what you’re anxious about. There’s often a decision to be made or a problem to be solved.
3. If you discover an immediate, realistic concern that’s gotten caught in your “worry machine”, see if you can factor out the worrisome aspects and plan an effective way to resolve the concern or problem.
4. Regularly spend measured periods of time (like 10-20 minutes) focusing actively and exclusively on your biggest worries. If they seem vague, articulate them more clearly. Use “worry periods” to carefully consider effective ways to manage worries and problems..
5. Don’t give yourself demerits for feeling so nervous: For Pete’s sake, you’re tackling some of your toughest anxieties!
Bumper Stick “Don’t believe everything you think”
Therapy for Anxiety and Worry
Do You Worry Too Much? Sticky thinking is the culprit
Sometimes we indulge in a moment or two of worry or feel a little down. At other times, we might discover that negative thinking has a grip on us or that we’re really uptight or even panicky, our minds restless and disturbed. Maybe we realize that we don’t seem able to stop worrying or that we’re gripped with fear.
Active worry, bouts of self-blaming, obsession, and brooding rumination. . . all these can be sticky thinking (ST) – bursts of negative, repetitive, complicated, unproductive thought that are tough to stop once they’ve begun. Even worse – the more we try to control ST, the more anxious, down, or riled up we’re likely to become. Sticky thinking can govern our bad moods and draw us down into anxiety and depression. Perhaps therapy for anxiety and panic attacks is the answer for you.
But we can learn to gain the upper hand over sticky thinking and move it out of our way?
How do I know It’s a “sticky thinking problem”?
a. The more we think it, the crummier we feel. – the more uptight, angrier, sadder, or down we get.
b. It’s irrational. Worrying frantically about paying bills doesn’t help straighten out the finances. Worrying about being unable to sleep never helps us fall asleep.
c. It obscures our awareness of the immediate present. How many times – caught up in worry or preoccupation – have you missed the look of joy or disappointment, excitement or hurt on your spouse’s, child’s, or friend’s face?
d. It suppresses our lively, vibrant emotions. – Are you too preoccupied with sticky thinking to burst into laughter or tears or get excited?
e. In the long run, it’s demoralizing – ST is very hard, may lead to little progress, and can lessen our self-esteem
More than meets the eye: Sticky thinking is a core process of of emotional distress.
Sticky thinking occurs naturally for many of us who have a tendency to get over-emotional and negative. It resembles useful, healthy thinking, like reasoning with ourselves, introspecting, or reflecting. . . until negative feelings get too caught up in the mix, ramp up, and tangle our thoughts and distress together. Yet even when we notice the worry machine cranking up, we may hesitate to put ST in check. Because we can’t be sure. . . Isn’t this just me being highly responsible? After all, so much is uncertain. Am I not just trying extra-hard to be safe rather than sorry in order to preempt bad things happening?
The answer is a resounding “NO!” There’s no benefit in overworry or dwelling in order to achieve responsibility or be caring about the safety of those around you. Even rumination can appear to be just a helpful way of grasping the meanings of things, cultivating self-understanding, or gaining insight, rather than what it often is – a black hole where you’re caught up thinking disturbing thoughts over and over. When we develop a pattern of dwelling on our vital concerns and struggling with ourselves, our ST is likely to pretend it’s been granted permanent residence in our hearts and minds, and it can even become the core of emotional disorders like generalized anxiety disorder – GAD – or major depression.
Relief and Release from Sticky thinking
You’re not at the mercy of sticky thinking.
Try to detect it as soon as it starts and acknowledge that it’s there. Eventually, you will know it’s not true, even though it might still be lingering nearby, like an unwelcome guest who’s getting ready to knock on the door again. Perhaps you should consider seeking therapy for anxiety and panic attacks.
Three types of Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help.
Cognitive Reappraisal and emotional exposure – might be for you if you’re anxious or depressed, or if you simply worry too much – if you’ve realized your thinking at emotional times is sticky and unworkable and want to take action – to learn effective, scientifically proven techniques to counteract it. Utilizing Attention Training Techniques, you can develop the capability to shift away from negative trains of thought and toward the immediate environment or incompatible mental processes that counteract the brain mechanisms that sustain your sticky thinking. Mindfulness techniques – like concentration on the breath and insight meditation – provide training for shifting to states of mind where you can abide with negative feelings without getting stuck on a train of thought or caught up in a grim story. Mindfulness techniques can be honed to effectively counteract sticky thinking.
The bottom line: Sticky thinking need not turn you into a grump or a worrier, ruled by your moods, becoming demoralized. You can gain the upper hand over anxiety and worry. You can become kinder to yourself. Perhaps you can liberate yourself. To get better, you may need therapy with a clinician skilled in helping people overcome over-worry, rumination, or obsessiveness. I provide emotional awareness-based CBT, which utilizes all three types of CBT to enable men and women with disturbing anxiety and depression to overcome sticky thinking problems.