Given the state of the world and the dire political situation, a certain amount of anxiety is completely normal. However, some of us find ourselves worrying endlessly, particularly if we wake in the middle of the night and our minds get crowded with things that might go wrong.
If you worry excessively, you may be constitutionally sensitive and/or have had unpredictable negative things happened to you earlier in life. However, that does not mean you cannot find a much better way to cope with life’s demands.
Worriers learn to be highly vigilant to any possibility of threat or danger; their minds dwell on catastrophic future possibilities rather than on current positive experiences. They interpret ambiguous situations as potentially dangerous and even believe that somehow worrying is a good thing, that it stops the bad things from creeping up while unprepared.
When we are tired or in a bad mood, it is then that our minds are most likely to spin out of control. Our racing thoughts stimulate tension and anxiety; the fearful feeling in turn makes our mind race—and we are trapped in a vicious circle.
Here are some suggestions that help curb incessant worrying:
- Change you mood by taking a walk, exercising, reading a good book or having a positive conversation. Focus and refocus on the positive.
- Write down the things that are worrying you and determine how reasonable/important they are. Make a list of things that might help you before you go to sleep.
- Learn a meditation technique. If you wake in the night, sit up and pay attention to a calming word or your breath.
- Decide to halt a worrying bout as soon as you have gone over the situation in your mind three times. After that, you know you are caught in a vicious circle that leads nowhere.
- Tell yourself that your ruminations do not making a difference to the situation. Decide if you there is any action that could help; if not, accept you are currently powerless.
- Examining your physical and mental experience from an objective and mindful position, as if it were happening to someone else. Be compassionate, self-aware and invite yourself to relax.
- Practice coherence breathing. Instead of deep breaths, this is rhythmic breathing that focuses on longer out-breaths. There is even an app to help you practice: http://www.heartrateplus.com/
Make the intention to limit your worrying using a few of these tips and you will gradually find yourself able to better appreciate all the good things in your life.