7 ways to make friends with your worries

February 16, 2017 | by M. Joann Wright, Ph.D.
Categories: Healthy Driven Minds

These days, everywhere you turn you’re faced with something to worry about. We all worry to some extent, but excessive worrying can have a lasting impact on your mental and physical health.

Anxiety has been linked to several chronic physical illnesses, including gastrointestinal conditions, chronic respiratory disorders, and heart disease. For instance, some studies suggest that people with heart disease and anxiety are twice as likely to have a heart attack as those with no history of anxiety.

Here are 7 ways to make peace with your worries:

  1. Accept worry as part of lifeThe simple truth? You probably can’t find a single person in your life who is worry-free. As unpleasant as worrying might be, it’s a part of life. Once you start to look at your worrying as a simple side-effect of living, it may not seem quite as bad.

  2. Talk it out – Talk about your worry with someone close to you. Your friends may be able to offer useful perspective. Support groups for anxiety can be beneficial too.

  3. Practice mindfulnessEvidence suggests that mindful meditation can increase present moment awareness. Since worrying is future oriented, the more time you spend connected with the present, the less time you’ll have to think about worst-case scenarios.

  4. Lean into itAvoiding your worry thoughts can actually make them worse. Accept them, and don’t try to move away from them. Then, you’ll be less apt to let your thoughts “own” you.

  5. Get your heart pumping – Regular exercise can promote a clearer, less worried mind and a healthier body.

  6. Laugh more – A good laugh can be a helpful technique when you’re worrying about something. Hang out with friends who make you laugh or watch a funny movie.

  7. Get out of your mindWhen we spend too much time inside our own thoughts, they tend to increase in intensity. By mindfully engaging in life, your thoughts can take a back seat to your daily activities. Be present when you do mundane things like washing the dishes, showering, etc.

We all worry from time to time. It’s a normal part of life to have occasional anxiety. How do you know if your worries are something more, such as an anxiety disorder?

People with an anxiety disorder find it difficult to control their anxiety and stay focused on daily tasks. You may:

  • Worry a lot about everyday things
  • Have worries that take over parts of your life
  • Know that you worry much more than you should
  • Feel restless and have trouble relaxing
  • Have a hard time concentrating
  • Have trouble sleeping
  • Feel easily tired or tired all the time
  • Have headaches, muscle aches, stomach aches or unexplained pains
  • Be irritable or feel on edge
  • Sweat a lot, feel light-headed or out of breath

Learn the symptoms of a panic attack, which is a type of anxiety disorder, and get 6 ways to help someone having a panic attack.

The Linden Oaks mental health professionals are highly specialized and use innovative therapy to treat anxiety. Get support from Linden Oaks Behavioral Health.

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