Tag Archives: Worry

Fear: The Upgrade of Worry

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We all know what fear feels like: that burning, hot, paralyzing sensation that erupts in the tummy and flows through the veins like lava; that weak, jelly-like feeling in the limbs; that shaky heart-throbbing Oh my God emotion; that I can’t breathe dizziness episode, well, need I go on? No one escapes fear.

Fear is often like a stow-away…it jumps on every other emotion for the ride.

Are you bummed out? Chances are fear is one of the feelings responsible. Anger is always accompanied by fear, and so is guilt. Wondering about getting hurt in a relationship? Getting laid-off? Getting dumped? Losing a loved one? Fear is the main ingredient there, too. Fear has many other names: terror, worry, apprehension, alarm, concern, fret, uneasiness, anxiety, distress, dread, and panic.

Fear is probably the worst feeling, along with depression, to encounter because it’s experienced physically as well as emotionally.

Psychiatrist and author of Worry: Hope and Help for a Common Condition, Dr. IMG_0727Edward Hallowell thinks people worry when they feel vulnerable and powerless. Worrying is used as a means to restore some sort of control—an attempt to reverse vulnerability and powerlessness. If we’re busy worrying, we feel a sense of control over the problem, even if that’s all we do about the dilemma—worry.

A type of worry—the worry or fear of uncertainty—has been shown to cause a devastating result.

Uncertainty is not knowing. It’s a situation that is unpredictable so an individual can’t determine what to think or do. Over a period of time this causes feeling of helplessness. Mounting evidence published in The Complete Guide to Your Emotions and Health, by Emrika Padus, shows that:

Worry over life’s uncertainties—those future “what-ifs” and past “if-onlys” that can drive us crazy with speculation—creates a particularly devastating kind of stress response…It’s what we don’t know (and can’t do anything about) that can really hurt us.

IMG_0322Uncertainty keeps a person in a constant state of semi-arousal which places an extreme burden on the body’s adaptive resources and resistance systems. Not knowing when something is going to happen or what is going to happen means having to stay on guard—tensed.

 

When worry escalates, the result is fear.

Fear floods the body with epinephrine. It’s most powerful effect is felt on the heart—both the rate and strength of contractions increase. Blood pressure soars. If the fear is intense enough, all systems can fatally overload.

Individuals who experience an intruding level of fear have one thing in common: a need for control.

Anxiety is a future-focused state and control has to do with uncertainty. We IMG_0307seek control of people in efforts to influence or guarantee the outcomes to situations that we want. Worry is often viewed as an attempt to control the future. In some cases we can even think that if we worry enough, a dreaded event won’t happen. The amount of fear and anxiety that we experience is influenced by our perceived ability to cope with what we fear.

The minds of worriers become dominated by fear.

But worrying does not provide security or safety. There is no way to eliminate uncertainty.

Think about it.

 

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

Aren’t we worried about what might happen tomorrow, and aren’t we occupied with what happened yesterday?

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Margaret Bonnano¹, famous author of seven Star Trek novels, wrote: It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day-to-day basis.

Do you live day-to-day? There’s much attention placed on the catch phrase “One day at a time,” but do we really live that way? Aren’t we worried about what might happen tomorrow, and aren’t we occupied with what happened yesterday? Our brains feel like a swarm of bees bringing back and forth to the hive worries about yesterday’s fiasco, and tomorrow’s anxiety about money. All this buzzing going on while we try to face today’s demands while sustaining sanity.

IMG_0702Most of our blunders from yesterday, last month, or last year are rubbish–we forget them. We make mistakes, we learn, we grow. The End. But sometimes, the memory of a past fault creeps into our minds and tortures again with its pain and regret. It makes us feel shame, depressed and unworthy. Don’t let that memory of the past have its reign over you again. It’s true that we face the future with our past. But a huge part of who we are today, what we stand for, and what we believe about ourselves and life comes from the lessons we acquired from screwing-up, yes, even those major debacles. Those of us who show up everyday in life expecting the best, doing our best, and giving our best have not been discouraged by yesterday’s failure, or reduced in value by its hurt.

IMG_1614Former New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan² once said: Life is one day at a time. And thank God! I couldn’t take much more. Doesn’t that describe most of us? There’s enough to sort through, solve, organize and work-out in one day, imagine if we were expected to handle the toil of two days in 24 hours? There’s enough to be concerned about today so adding worry about tomorrow and regret from yesterday isn’t a good use of time and energy.

Monitor your thoughts and notice how much time you’re spending dwelling on yesterday and how much you’re thinking about tomorrow. Deal with what’s happening now and what needs attention now so that when you awake tomorrow morning you’ll have energy to do it again.

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

 

¹http://www.margaretwanderbonanno.com/
²http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daniel_Patrick_Moynihan
©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net
Photos courtesy of Pixabay.com

What’s your worry?

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A man interviewing for a job found himself in the presence of a nervous, fidgety factory owner who looked anxious, gloomy, and grouchy. “The only vacancy here,” he told the applicant, “is a Vice President position; and the person who takes that job must shoulder all my cares.” “That’s a tough job,” said the applicant, “What’s the salary?” The factory owner replied, “I’ll pay you a million a year if you’ll take on all my worries.” “Done! I’ll take the job” the applicant said, “When will I get paid?” “That my boy,” answered the owner, “is your first worry.”

stress-441461_640With all the effort and energy needed to worry, it’s unfortunate that worry doesn’t work. I wish it did. For many of us worrying is like a second job. It would be nice to get some compensation for all those hours spent losing sleep. Regrettably, its benefits are zilch, nadda, zip. There are no benefits for worrying, but there are plenty of consequences to add to a worried soul: insomnia, panic attacks, anxiety, tummy disorders, cardiac conditions, increased illness, and a shortened life-span. Worry seems to keep our adrenaline churning and that’s not a good thing.

In confronting problems, worry is a dysfunctional strategy; not to mention a complete waste of time. When we worry, we’re not thinking, we’re feeling. We’re feeling fear from “what if’s.”  When we worry, we usually don’t make sense because our feelings are irrational and reactive. We’re not problem-solving or coping, we’re obsessing, we’re ruminating. It’s like the mouse frantically running on and on, faster and faster on its tread wheel–all strung out, frazzled and going nowhere.

IMG_0932 - Copy - Copy - CopyWorry starts to brew when efforts to maintain control of our lives are met with resistance, unexpected circumstances, or the on-going stress of employment. A need to stay in control creates a variety of worry because we fear our problems can’t be solved, and then what? Add to that any rigid thinking, unrealistic expectations, and impatience, and it’s no wonder we’re worry warts. Rather than respond to situations, worriers react with feelings that assume the worse case scenario.

The good news about worry is that it can be tamed. The first step is a willingness to let go of all that negative turmoil in your head. If you’re ready, this practice will remove worry from your life.

First, get a notebook–size 8×10″. Using the notebook forces you to look at your notepad-538870_640worries with a much more objective eye than you’re used to. It makes you an observer of your own life and you’re able to distance yourself from intrusive thoughts. On the first page write Worry #1 and give it a date. Now write down the worry. Example: I’m worried my car will not survive much longer. 

After writing Worry #1, in your notebook provide the answers to these questions: When do you worry about this situation? What scares you? Why does it make you nervous? Why is it a problem? What is out of your control about it? What are you afraid will happen? What will it mean if it did happen? It doesn’t matter whether your answer to each question fills several pages or half a line. What’s important is that you write it down.

brainstorming-413156_640Your next entry is Possibilities and Options, and represents what you think is possible action to resolve the problem and thus end the worry about the situation. Here is where you problem-solve, brainstorm, and get things in perspective. Here is where you THINK, not feel. Be objective. Be reasonable. Write down the facts.

The last entry is People To Consult and Outcome. Here you write down supportive individuals that you can contact to assist in sorting out your options. These people are not on the list to rescue you or fix the problem for you. Their assistance ought to be geared to keep you focused on the facts. Remember that something based on a “maybe” or a “might be” is a myth, not fact. Something based on an assumption is also a myth, not a fact. Problem-solving is seeking solutions based on the facts. Write down possible solutions or steps necessary to obtain more facts before making a decision. Sometimes the end result will be out of your control and will require you to “let it go.”

Every time you’re worried about something or mind-boggled about “what if’s” IMG_0186enter it in your Worry Book and complete the four entries. This will help you avoid the emotional worried state of “worst case scenario” where many worriers go first, and stay. If you really want to remove worry from your life, you’ll commit to using your Worry Book. It works! Sleep at last!

Think about it. In caring, Sandy

©All rights reserved, 2014, Dr. Sandy Nelson, E-Couch.net