It is natural to worry and everyone does it at some point or another. However, when do you know when your worrying has gotten out of control? According to doctors, it isn’t very difficult to recognize when you are worrying too much, it’s what you do to lessen the worry that is important.
According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, worrying becomes a problem when it becomes an uncontrollable habit that interrupts your daily activities to such an extent that you are unable to work or sleep properly. Sadly, this isn’t an uncommon experience for many Americans: according to the ADDA, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population.
While the statistics on worrying and other anxiety disorders may seem daunting, treatment can help those who worry too much. For example, medications or counseling are effective tools in treating anxiety. Moreover, there are a few simple suggestions from the American Academy of Family Physicians that you can follow to help ease your worries:
- Remember that nearly all worries are only thoughts.
- Remember that the bad things that we worry about hardly ever happen. Worry won’t protect us from the rare bad things that do happen.
- Stop trying to get rid of worries. It doesn’t work, and it may make things worse. Instead, accept worry, but don’t give it your full attention whenever you think of it.
- Use "worry periods" for 10 to 20 minutes at set times during the day. Give your worries your full attention only at these times. At other times, remind yourself to save thinking about a worry until your next worry period.
- Learn "mindfulness meditation." This skill is simple, but not easy. As you get better at staying in the moment, focusing on your breathing, and accepting your thoughts as "just thinking," your worries will not be so troubling.
- Find out what things calm you. Try doing things like exercise, relaxation, massage, prayer, yoga, music, journal writing, or taking a hot bath. Do it to calm yourself-not to get rid of your worries.
- Being sure about things is only a feeling-it is rarely real. Practice noticing and accepting the many things each day that you can’t feel certain about and can’t control.
- Stop checking the Internet, your body, or the opinions of others to reassure yourself. The relief you feel will not last, and you will just feel the need to check more. Sometimes your checking can scare you more.
- Ask yourself: Am I making too much of the risk? Will this even matter next week? What would I be feeling if I were not worrying? Am I giving in to my worries instead of managing them? What can I do instead of worrying more?
recently named in the 2009 edition of Best Lawyer's In America, David Mittleman has been representing seriously injured people since 1985. A partner with Church Wyble PC—a division of Grewal Law PLLC—Mr. Mittleman and his partners focus on medical malpractice, wrongful death, car accidents, slip and falls, nursing home injury, pharmacy/pharmacist negligence and disability claims.