How to Worry Less and Live More

Melissa ReeBlog, Anxiety

In today’s fast-paced world, chronic worry and anxiety can easily take hold, affecting our daily lives and overall wellbeing. At J&R Clinical Psychology in Perth, we understand the challenges individuals face with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and chronic worry, and we’re here to provide support and guidance on the path to a more peaceful mind.

When Worrying Becomes a Problem

May people ask “am I just a bit of a worrier, or do I have an anxiety disorder?”

While worry is a normal part of life, there are times when it can escalate into a more serious issue, such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD). Whilst the line between everyday worry and GAD is quite blurry, identifying when worry is problematic enough to seek help is an important step for getting appropriate support to address it effectively.

Signs that worrying has become a problem:

  1. Excessive and Persistent Worry: When worry becomes overwhelming and consumes a significant amount of your time and mental energy, it may indicate that it has crossed over into generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).
  2. Physical Symptoms: Manifestations such as muscle tension, headaches, stomach issues, or insomnia can signal that worrying is impacting your wellbeing.
  3. Impaired Functioning: If worry starts to interfere with your daily activities, relationships, work performance, or overall quality of life, it may be a sign of a more serious issue.
  4. Inability to Control Worry: Difficulty managing worries despite your best efforts is another indicator that professional help may be beneficial.

Challenges in Addressing Problematic Worry

  1. Stigma and Misconceptions: The stigma surrounding mental health issues can prevent individuals from acknowledging their struggles with excessive worry and seeking help.
  2. Self-Stigma: Internalised stigma or self-judgment about anxiety can delay reaching out for support, leading to prolonged suffering.
  3. Fear of Judgement: Concerns about how others may perceive them or fear of being judged for seeking help can act as barriers to accessing appropriate treatment.
  4. Limited Awareness: Lack of awareness about the signs and symptoms of GAD and available treatment options can delay individuals from seeking timely intervention.

Understanding Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a mental health condition characterised by persistent and excessive worry about various aspects of life. This can lead to physical symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue, and difficulty concentrating, impacting one’s ability to function. Recognising the signs and symptoms of GAD is crucial in seeking appropriate help and support. Research tells us that GAD is experienced by at least 1 in 20 adults.

Living with GAD presents a range of challenges, from near constant feelings of unease and worry to difficulties in maintaining relationships and performing daily tasks efficiently. The relentless nature of anxiety can be emotionally draining and isolating, making it essential to seek effective strategies for managing these challenges.

Evidence-based therapies such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) have been shown to be highly effective in treating anxiety and chronic worry. Working with a trained psychologist allows individuals to identify and challenge negative thought patterns contributing to anxiety. Through structured sessions and homework assignments, CBT helps individuals develop coping skills and strategies to manage their worries effectively.

See here for more information on types of anxiety and their treatment at J&R psychology: 

Tips for Managing Chronic Worry

  1. Recognise when thought patterns have become overly negative: Spot your ‘what if…?’ thoughts as these are an indicator that worry might be present.  Identifying worry when it appears will help you to step back from the worry. Then you can make a decision to practice placing your attention on other activities (see point 2!).
  2. Practice Mindfulness/focussed attention: Engage in techniques that help you to stay present in the moment rather than being derailed by worry. Focussing on your breath is one example of a mindful activity, but you can be mindful of whatever you are doing, whether this is having a conversation, working, showering, eating, or walking etc. 
  3. Worry time: Set yourself some dedicated time to engage with what has been worrying you –ideally, this would be say 10 or 15 minutes, every day or so. Use this time to write your worries down and find practical next steps. 
  4. Establish Healthy Habits: Create a routine that prioritises regular self-care, such as exercise, nutritious meals and getting adequate sleep.
  5. Seek Professional Support: Reach out to a qualified psychologist for evidence-based therapy.

By incorporating evidence-based therapy into your journey towards overcoming chronic worry and anxiety, you can equip yourself with the tools needed to manage your worries effectively and cultivate a sense of inner peace. Remember that seeking help is a courageous step towards reclaiming control over your mental health and leading a more fulfilling life. 

If you recognise any of the signs mentioned above and feel that worrying has become a persistent problem in your life, it’s essential to reach out for professional support. The Psychologists at J&R Clinical Psychology in Perth are experienced in helping individuals overcome Generalised Anxiety Disorder and chronic worry through evidence-based therapies like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Remember, addressing problematic worry is a courageous step towards reclaiming control over your mental health and wellbeing. By seeking help early and engaging in effective treatment strategies, you can regain a sense of calm and resilience in the face of anxiety.

If you’re ready to take the first step towards overcoming problematic worry, don’t hesitate to contact J&R Clinical Psychology in Perth for compassionate and expert support tailored to your individual needs.

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