worry control

Worry Control

1. Choose Faith. Worry is a lack of faith. Refuse to give into it by choosing to have faith instead.

2. Remember and be grateful for all the times provision has come to you before. God has always provided for you, so you can rest assured that he will again in this situation as well.

3. Imagine the Worst Case Scenario. What is the very worst that can happen? You die and fall into the loving hands of God. That’s not so bad.

4. Refute irrational ideas. 90% of the things you worry about are never going to happen. You worry about the past which you cannot change, the future which you do not know, and your present failures and criticisms from others. When you are catastrophizing, generalizing, emotional reasoning you need to refute those negative ideas.

5. Abide in truth. Meditate on good things. The truth is that God is real. God is strong. God loves. He cares for you.

6. Use Autogenics with mind calming and fear reducing mantras. Simple mantras like “Don’t be afraid.” Bible verses like “Do not fear for I will be with you. I have called you by name. You are mine.” (Isaiah 50). Inspirational quotes like “I will not fear. Fear is the mind killer. I will let it pass over me and through me and when it is gone I will turn and I will see only the truth.” (Dune). Even silly movie scenes like James and the Giant Peach when he falls into the peach and is surrounded by enormous bugs. He hides his face and shouts “Don’t eat me.” That’s true primal fear! Reducing it down to simpler terms can sometimes make things seem ridiculous and change your perspective.

7. Focus on the solutions not the problems. If you are worrying you are focusing on the problem. Your vision is too narrow. It’s ok to state that there is a problem, but dwelling on the problem leads to fear. What can you do to change the problem? Who can you ask for help? Solutions always exist. They may be difficult. Change is often difficult and uncomfortable. Brainstorm all the possibilities. Try everything- multiple times- until something works.

8. Eliminate stressors. Once you have an idea of what triggers your worries begin to eliminate those things from your life.

9. Break obsessive thought through forcing a change. Obsessive thought is where you think the same things over and over again and become stuck in a rut. The only way I have found to break out of this is to leave the house and seek company. You can help activate your will by opening up the solar plexus chakra.

10. When things become overwhelming and you have a temptation to dissociate, focus on the five senses to bring you back into the present moment. What around you can you see? Hear? Touch? Smell? Taste? Bringing yourself back into the present gets you out of your head and out of your emotions and back into your body. This is generally grounding and calming.  

Refuting Catastrophes

Most chronic worriers focus their attention on catastrophic outcomes, and are unable to do a realistic risk assessment. They forget that our ability to cope is really quite extraordinary.

Following the guide below may help you become more objective.

Risk Assessment Guide

1. Write down your feared event

2. What are your automatic thoughts (worries) about this event?

3. Rate your anxiety level over this event from 0 to 10.

4. Rate the probability in which you think this event is likely to occur from 0 to 100%.

5. If this event happens, then what are the worst possible consequences?

6. In what ways can you cope with these consequences? How have other people coped?

7. What thoughts do you have regarding coping to this worst- case- scenario?

8. How often has this worst- case- scenario ever happened to you and others?

9. What evidence do you have that this worst- case- scenario is UNLIKELY to occur?

10. List as many OTHER possible outcomes to the feared event that can think of.

11. Which outcome do you think is most likely?

12. Rerate the probability that this event is likely to occur from 0 to 100%

13. Rerate your anxiety level from 0 to 10.

Imagery Desensitization

1. Imagine a feared event in as much detail as possible for 5 minutes. Don’t let the image shift but replay the same image over and over until the 5 minutes are up.

2. Rate your anxiety level from 0-10.

3. Use progressive relaxation or cue-controlled relaxation to restore calm.

4. Do a risk assessment on this feared event.

5. Imagine the feared event again for 1 minute.

6. Imagine coping with the feared event. Imagine coping at the time of the event, a couple hours later, a couple of days later, a week later.

7. Rerate your anxiety level.