“Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That’s why it’s called the present.” By Bil Keane
Have you ever heard this quote? It is a wise statement that talks about the importance of being able to enjoy the current moment, the here and now. But do you ever find it hard to enjoy the present? Does your mind focus on worrying about various things beyond your control? What if I burn dinner? What if my boss is unhappy with me? What if I can’t get everything done? What if she does not recover? What if...? What if…? What if…? Have others told you that you worry too much? Has someone called you a Worry Wart? No, you are not crazy.
Worrying is a pattern of thinking that our brain can get wrapped up in. Worry is the process of thinking about possible future outcomes, usually negative or fearful in nature, that can cause distress. It is normal to worry from time to time. It becomes a problem when it is negatively interfering with your ability to enjoy your life – to relax when you finally have the time, to sleep, or if you are avoiding the situations that you worry about. Although worrying can be useful, such as when we are planning to be prepared for something that is likely to happen…too much of it can make it hard to relax and enjoy our day.
Have you tried deep breathing, meditation or distractions to try and ease your worrying - but nothing seems to be working? Feeling frustrated? If you are finding that your worries just won’t let up, it might be that you actually need to allow the worry, but in a constructive way. Worrying is just the brain’s way of trying to problem solve possible future scenarios, and sometimes the brain can get stuck along the path to problem solving and enter in an unhelpful pattern of excessive worrying.
Try this constructive method to worry that may help the brain get un-stuck:
Carney & Waters, 2006. Constructive Worry Worksheet.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy Los Angeles, 2014. Control Your Worrying with Constructive Worry vs. Unconstructive Worry. http://cogbtherapy.com/cbt-blog/control-your-worrying-constructive-worry-vs-unconstructive-worry. Website visited December 17, 2018.
Centre for Clinical Interventions (unknown year). How Worry Works. www.cci.health.wa.gov.au. Website visited December 17, 2018.
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