Worries are a form of negative, recurrent thinking we get stuck in by having negative thoughts about the bad and unpleasant things that might happen in the future. Such negative thinking is often circular because the same negative possibility is repeated, so detaching ourselves from the recurring thoughts becomes harder. Worries feed our fears and anxiety and make the subject of our concern grow bigger and bigger.
We all worry sometimes (mostly about similar things), and there is nothing unusual about it. However, whether or not we have an anxiety problem depends on how much time we spend worrying, and how fast and easy enough we can let go of our worries. People who worry excessively often do not understand why they cannot detach themselves from the subject of their worries.
Misconceptions about worries are the most common cause of concerns. People that worry too much often believe worrying is useful. They believe worrying will help them find a solution to their problems, understand their problems better, or prepare them for all possible outcomes. They also think it is a sign they care (this is quite common with athletes). Due to such beliefs, they tend to devote themselves to worrying and negative thinking because they think it is beneficial for them.
Sometimes, people who worry are worried because they worry. In that case, they feel worries are dangerous or that they are getting out of control and taking over their lives. Thinking like that makes worrying extremely disturbing, which only creates more worries and supports their concerns.
How can you help yourself?
First of all, you need to realize that having negative thoughts is completely normal. We have used our anxieties to discover threats in the environment for thousands of years, so our mind is designed to worry here and there. The number of thoughts that go through our mind daily counts in thousands or tens of thousands. It is normal we cannot control all these thoughts. Sometimes in life, we will sometimes face serious problems which will require thorough reflection and problem-solving.
The advice I am about to give you relates to newly arisen concerns: do not give them too much attention and do not devote excessive time or energy to them. If you do just that, it is more likely you will cause an avalanche of new thoughts that will create a seemingly hopeless situation. The real problem with concerns is our tendency to fight them by force or to give them too much attention, entangling ourselves in a ball of worries. Therefore, once you have checked whether you have any misconceptions about worries or not, try to focus on the present moment and the possible solutions it offers.
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