Category Archives: worry

Help for worrying about worrying

worrying  In following up on “When to worry about worrying,” there are 3 strategies you might consider to cope with chronic worrying. It is important to understand what worrying is, since the beliefs you hold about worrying play a huge role in triggering worry. You probably feel like worries come from the outside-from people, events that are stressful or situations you’re facing. In fact, worrying is self-perpetuating. The trigger may come from the outside, but your internal dialogue keeps it going! When you’re worrying you are likely obsessing on worst case scenarios and if you are focusing on ‘what ifs’ your worrying is unproductive. If you can give up the idea that your worrying somehow helps you, you can begin to deal with your worry and anxiety.

Many people with anxiety don’t know how to calm down quickly. Some ideas for self care to create calm include:

  • Exercise, a natural and effective anti-anxiety treatment
  • Get enough sleep, limit caffeine, avoid alcohol and nicotine.
  • Start eating healthy

You will also benefit from learning relaxation techniques-deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, meditation and yoga. Be aware of what you can do for yourselves and design a self care program that works for you. Be flexible-does this mean you can never have a glass of wine? Absolutely not-everything in moderation!

If you have given self care a good shot and find you can’t seem to shake your worries and fears, you might consider seeking help from a mental health professional. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one type of therapy that is particularly helpful. CBT examines distortions in our ways of looking at ourselves and the world. It can help you identify automatic negative thoughts that contribute to your anxiety. For example, if you are the type of person who catastrophizes, always think of the worst case scenarios, you might learn to challenge this tendency through asking yourself questions such as: Has this ever happened before? What is the likelihood it will happen now?, What are some more positive outcomes that are more likely to happen? With the help of a mental health professional it is possible to change your mind set and alleviate your worry and anxiety. This might not come easy to you, but with repeated practice you can retrain your thoughts and consequently your feelings.

Finally, with the assistance of a physician it is possible to alleviate your anxiety with the use of medication. Anti-anxiety medications relieve anxiety by slowing down the central nervous system. Their relaxing effects have made them very popular. Common anti-anxiety drugs are Xanax, Klonopin, Buspar, Valium and Ativan. Your physician can advise you about the pros and cons of these and other drugs to treat your anxiety. It’s important to remember that medications alone aren’t the cure. Therapy and lifestyle changes should be incorporated into your treat plan when you’re worrying about worrying!


For further information, visit:



When to worry about worrying

A recent article in HEALTHbeat, a publication of the Harvard Medical School, caught my eye. The title: When to worry about worrying. The article suggests there is no shortage of things to worry about-from personal concerns about your family, your job, your health, to fears related to larger issues such as political conflicts, terrorism and natural disasters. Temporary anxiety can be a healthy response to uncertainty and danger, but constant worry about things real or imagined may be a sign of a more serious problem-generalized anxiety disorder.

A generalized anxiety disorder involves chronic worrying, tension and nervousness. It is diffuse or free floating, not connected to anything in particular. People with a generalized anxiety disorder can’t shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen and they will not be prepared. Some people even worry about worrying too much. Does this sound familiar?

“I can’t get my mind to stop-it’s driving me crazy!”

“He’s late-he was supposed to be here 20 minutes ago! He must have had an accident!”

“I can’t sleep-I just feel such dread…and I don’t know why!”

Worries, doubts and fears are a normal part of life. The difference between “normal” worrying and a generalized anxiety disorder is that the worrying becomes:





Emotional symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder

  • Constant worries running through your head
  • Feeling like your anxiety s uncontrollable; there is nothing you can do to stop worrying
  • Intrusive thoughts about things that make you anxious; you try to stop thinking about them, but you can’t
  • An inability to tolerate uncertainty; you must know what’s going to happen next
  • A persuasive feeling of apprehension or dread

Behavioral symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder

  • Inability to relax, enjoy quiet time, or be by yourself
  • Difficulty concentrating on things, like reading a book
  • Putting things off because you feel overwhelmed
  • Avoiding situations that make you feel anxious, like driving or being in a crowd

Physical symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder

  • Feeling tense; having muscle tightness or body aches
  • Having trouble falling asleep, or staying asleep because your mind won’t quit
  • Feeling edgy, restless or jumpy
  • Stomach problems, nausea, constipation or diarrhea

You will need a doctor’s help to know if you are dealing with a generalized anxiety disorder.

Self diagnosis is never a good idea!

Specific therapies like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps people recognize when they are misinterpreting events, exaggerating difficulties, or making pessimistic assumptions, and offer new ways to respond to anxiety-provoking situations.  For some people, medications maybe an important part of treatment. There are also many things you can do for yourself (self-care) to foster anxiety reduction. It is not one choice or another, but a combination of several options designed specifically for you to help you get a handle on your anxiety. In my next post, we’ll concentrate on the specific treatments for help manage a Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Stay tuned, I’ll continue this discussion next week!