Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Delete Worry!

All the noise about economic downturn, and recession will no doubt cause a lot of anxiety, stress, fear and worry for many people. Apart from kepping our priorities first place in our mind, thought and action, and reducing stress by confronting our fears, What can be done?

If we look at how worry works, the cycles it creates, it is possible to recognise and counteract worry, which leaves us more able to come up with solutions to our problems. A book titled Emotional Intelligence – Why it can matter more than IQ by Daniel Goleman incorporates many relatively new findings on the way the brain works, and how our brains and bodies respond to different emotions. Goleman shows that for real worriers, rather than thoughts that help find solutions, worry can keep us immersed in our problem. Unexpectedly, exaggerated worry can have a strangely soothing effect on us, and can become a habitual response to life's challenges. When a worrying situation comes up, the worry cycle makes us conscious of bigger, worse, scarier situations (that are extremely unlikely to happen) which in themselves take our minds off the real and present concern. In this way some of us have learned to sooth ourselves. However, this type of thinking does not produce solutions, leaves us in a mess of negative thoughts, and does not reduce the stress in our minds and bodies that can be so destructive.

The answer to avoiding long periods of worry or anxiety is through catching ourselves before the worry cycle begins, by learning the warning signs of rising tension. Becoming conscious and aware of how our body shows tension can be the best way to stop the worry cycle. Do your shoulders tense up? Do you hold your mouth tight, or hold your breath? When you feel YOUR signs of tension rising, this is the time to confront your worries with logical questions, before the worry cycle begins. Questions such as:
If the worst possible scenario happened, what would that mean?
How would I cope?
How likely is it that this worst case outcome will actually happen?
Is there any action I can take to prevent a worst case outcome?
Does it really help to go into worry meltdown?

This way it is possible to avoid a cycle of worry, which just leaves you helpless, and instead allows you to come up with responses that will resolve your situation.

Check out my last post if you are worrying about the economic crisis and your financial situation. And some things to remember when under pressure.

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