25 Aug Happiness by overcoming worry
I have, over the years, seen lots of people who’re not happy and all of them have been unhappy in different ways. That being said, one of the most common causes of unhappiness is worry. But the good news is that people can be helped to overcome worry and that as a result, can increase their chances of experiencing happiness and then more fully participating in life. So try the following tips for overcoming worry and see if, as a result, you find more happiness coming your way.
1. Set aside a “Worry time”
Accept that you’re going to worry and regularly set aside specific “worry times”. When ever a worry comes to mind, acknowledge to yourself that you need to think it through, but then note that you’ll do so during your “worry time”. At the appointed time, focus on finding a solution but before then, give yourself permission to get on with other things.
2. Is the problem solvable?
Worrying is not all bad. It alerts us to the possibility that something’s not right, and motivates us to come up with solutions to avoid bad outcomes. However, some people find it difficult to stop worrying because they attempt to solve problems that are not immediately solvable. So, during your worry time, ask yourself whether your worry involves a solvable problem or not.
3. If the problem is solvableê¢__‘Ô_
Worriers also find it difficult to stop worrying because they keep trying to solve a problem to perfection. This is rarely possible; so instead of aiming for perfection aim for a realistic solution. Also, make sure that you evaluate possible solutions in a balanced way, not just paying attention to what may go wrong, but also to what may go right.
4. Be aware of unhelpful thoughts
Worriers often overestimate how likely it is that bad things will happen; and then often overestimate how bad things would be, should they happen. Remind yourself of all the previous times when you worried about something that didn’t eventually happen. Try to become more realistic in your assessment of the likely outcomes.
5. Be your own “best friend”
Imagine that you’re your own best friend. If you’re being overly self-critical ask yourself whether you’d say these things to your best friend. If not, what would you say to your friend under similar circumstances?
6. If the problem is not solvableê¢__‘Ô_
Sometimes problems are not immediately solvable. During those times, it can be helpful to consider using ê¢__‘–emotion focussed’, rather than ê¢__‘–problem-focussed’ coping techniques. Stop trying to solve something that is not solvable and learn to cope with the associated emotions.
7. Rest and exercise
Two of the most effective strategies for managing worry are relaxation and exercise; finds ways to integrate both into your life.
8. Be mindful
Try to observe your thoughts, without judgement; thoughts are not always facts. This is not as easy as it sounds but just like anything else, you can get better at it with practice.
9. Don’t worry at night – sleep
Keep a pen and paper by your bed and write down any worrying thoughts; then tell yourself that you’ll deal with them another time. Make sure that you have a wind down time before going to sleep that’s calming and relaxing.
10. Social support
The happiest and most successful people don’t always cope with problems on their own. They typically have friends they can talk to in times of need. To combat worry, don’t be afraid to bounce some ideas off others whom you trust.
PS: as noted above, worry is a very common but very treatable problem so don’t be shy about seeking help because the benefits of learning how to manage worry and enormous. Also, you can find more information on most of the themes/tips above in our free resources section and/or at http://www.depressionmanuals.com.