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Breaking the worrying habit. Thursday May 16, 2013

'Normal' worrying serves a useful purpose. It can spur you into taking action and dealing with problems. But when you become weighed down with 'what if' fears and worst-case scenarios, unrelenting worrying can become paralysing. Non-stop doubts and fears can drain your emotional energy, elevate anxiety and get in the way of everyday activities. It can keep you awake at night and make you tense and edgy during the day. No wonder we get worried about worrying.

But remember, chronic worrying is, after all, only a mental habit and like every habit it can be broken.

The starting point is to realise that anxious thoughts are driven by the beliefs, negative and positive, you hold about worrying.

On the negative side, you might believe that your constant worrying is going to drive you mad or make you physically ill. You might even believe that you will eventually spiral out of control and that worrying will take over your life.

More positively, you probably believe that worrying is a form of self protection, helping you to avoid bad situations and preparing you for the worst. Ultimately, you believe that worrying is the first stage to fixing things. Worrying, in this view, leads to solutions.

Clearly, your negative beliefs add to your anxiety. But your positive beliefs about worrying can be equally damaging. The point is that it's extremely hard to break the worry habit if you believe that your worrying is protecting you in some way. To put a life of chronic worry and anxiety behind you, the key is throw away your belief that your excessive worrying serves a positive purpose. You need to accept that worrying is in fact the problem, not in the solution.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our Blogspot:

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Anonymous Thu, May 16th 2013 @ 8:04am


Anonymous Thu, May 16th 2013 @ 8:56am

I like this. May stick it on my fridge door!

Anonymous Thu, May 16th 2013 @ 9:56am

Worrying is a learned behaviour which then becomes addictive and it's great that you point out the irrationality behind a lot of it, ie, that somehow it keeps you safer. Sort of like a prayer that has short-circuited. Also would like to thank you, Caroline and Adrian, for the really wonderful emails that have been arriving in the last few days. Really enjoying them!

Anonymous Thu, May 16th 2013 @ 10:57am

I agree with the content of today's blog - but am finding the way it is presented a bit concerning. It feels much more remote and preachy than it used to. Missing the personal touch... the sense of the writer being alongside you rather than simply an expert. Please lets not lose this. It's part of what makes moodscope work - and what makes it different from other tools to help. It was friendly. Many of the morning thoughts were small, but memorable - easy to take on board. This one felt more chewy. With best wishes...

Anonymous Thu, May 16th 2013 @ 8:46pm

I agree with the above comment. I've got enough preachy voices in my own head without hearing any more!!

I'd welcome a more informal approach, emphasising humour, respect, kindness and understanding of our struggles. Don't we all thrive when we feel loved and understood? I've spent my life learning how to be kind and gentle with myself and others, to understand and empathise rather than judge. I'd welcome a softer, gentler approach.

Caroline Ashcroft Thu, May 16th 2013 @ 9:00pm

Just to let you know we're taking everyone's comments on board and do understand the point you are making. We're working on it...

Anonymous Thu, May 16th 2013 @ 10:24pm

I found the personal touch rather false in the end to be honest. I felt that the blogs were more about the writer than us. I got irritated by constant references to the writer's personal life. So I am preferring the objective informative and measured approach. But we are all different. Anyway keep up the good work Carolne. I do like the fact that you are involved in our posts and reply in a very caring interested way. I find this personal touch much more genuine than Jon's way of communicating.

Anonymous Fri, May 17th 2013 @ 5:57am

I liked to think that all my worrying would finally had a meaning. I surely would not like to worry too much but how can that be achieved?I would like some tips!

Anonymous Fri, May 17th 2013 @ 8:07am

Re the various comments about the emails. it just shows how different we all are and proves Abraham Lincoln was so right:

"“You can please some of the people some of the time all of the people some of the time some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time.”
? Abraham Lincoln

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