How to Stop Worrying

Our thoughts create our realities, as a result whatever we focus our thoughts on attracts more of the same. This is the case when it comes to excessive worrying, where people who worry often have a history of trauma which have led them towards seeking power and control in their lives.

There is a deception that goes on in  the mind when it comes to worrying, people who struggle with chronic worrying often feel that they gain more control of the situation if they focus their minds on the worst case scenario. It’s almost as if they tell themselves that if they get through the worst that could happen, the sooner the better and the more experience they would have dealing with the worst that could happen.

Well, what about the best that could happen? What if things actually went your way? What if things went your way so well that it made things not going your way bearable and perhaps irrelevant?

The problem people who struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder have is that they have bought into a narrative that reads how good their lives should be, but without specifics on how they can make these narratives a reality. People who worry struggle to recognize their personal power in influencing their realities starting with their power of thoughts. Negative thoughts, lead to negative feelings which lead to maladaptive behaviors, whereas positive thoughts lead to positive feelings which lead to solution focused behaviors.

One technique you can start using today to stop worrying is called the “What If” technique.

To begin the “What If” technique you take a piece of paper or a journal and you create two columns. In the column header to your left you write down “What If -” and in  the column header to your right you write down “What If +”, the diagram below indicates what it would look like:

 

What if_01(blank)

Under ” What If -”  you write down a negative what if scenario that you have been worried about, and under “What if +” you write down an opposite and obviously positive scenario in response to the negative scenario you have written down. The diagram below indicates another example:

What if_01(filled)

 

The what if scenario is a very effective technique, as it is designed to draw your mind into considering more optimistic possibilities, which leads to more positive feelings, which in turn leads to the courage to engage in solution focused behaviors. Most people don’t realize that courage comes from a sense of love, as opposed to the myth of courage being drawn from hate fueled by a desire for retaliation.

In my soon to be published ebook on panic attacks, I discuss this technique in further detail, which includes behavioral experiments you can conduct to prove to yourself that you have the power to stop worrying and start living.

Ugo is a psychotherapist and life coach

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