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Tricks for Anxiety and Worry

Thoughts about Anxiety and Worry compiled by Cynthia Gill MA, LMFT.

Anxiety has replaced depression as the Number 1 mental health problem in the country. Here are some techniques to help overcome anxiety:

a. Change the "What ifs" to "What next?" This switches our thinking from the imaginary to the real: from awfulizing to seeking solutions, from the huge, nebulous, fear-filled unknown to the next concrete step we can take. It empowers us and most importantly changes our focus.

Our focus determines our experience! What am I focusing on? The negative? If ten people compliment my new haircut, and only one says she doesn't like it, do we focus on the ONE negative?!

b. Choose to believe that "I am not a victim, I can control my attitude about this. Although I cannot control other people or the circumstances, I can control my own attitude."

c. When we make mistakes, we need to admit it, and then stop beating ourselves. "I made a mistake, that doesn't mean I have no value, nor does it negate all the good in my life." One person said, "There are no such things as mistakes, only lessons. What can I learn from this one?

d. Make it a goal to say at least one positive thing to as many family members & friends as possible, and to yourself each day.

e. Some people find it useful to limit their worrying to 15-20 minutes a day. Set the timer for say 8:00, then again for 8:15. During these 15 minutes, WORRY, do all the "What ifs," and think of solutions to the worst case scenarios. Then when the timer rings, put all the worries back into a Worry Box, and don't worry about them again until tomorrow, at the Worry Time. Elementary kids can even make a physical Worry Box that they put their worries in, until Worry Time. This really works! I use it all the time with my clients.

f. People of faith recognize that ultimately humans are not in control. This is very helpful to remind ourselves if our belief system includes the idea that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose. It allows us to relinquish control.

We can get the upper hand on anxiety! Exchange it for peace, that passes understanding.

For further assistance in managing your anxiety and worrying, please call 763-566-0088 and speak to our Client Services Coordinator or stop by the NewPath Mental Health Services office at 8401 Wayzata Blvd., Suite 340, Golden Valley, MN 55426 to find out about services you are interested in.


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