By: Kim Ott MSW RSW

Published On: December 11, 2014

Anxiety can feel unpleasant; it can make one feel fearful, apprehensive, or it can preoccupy one’s mind with constant worrying. For some, anxiety, even surfaces in physical symptoms, such as a fast beating heart, tight chest, stomach pains, and/or a headache.

Whether an individual is challenged with an anxiety disorder or one is a person that gets easily stressed; anxious thoughts can hold their grip on our minds in ways we might not even be aware of. For instance we may begin to feel overwhelmed by day-to-day tasks that previously did not cause us stress. Tasks such as laundry, banking, making dinner, and cleaning the house that were once manageable, have now become overwhelming emotions of fear and stress. These ordinary mundane tasks have suddenly crippled us from the successful completion of them, making us feel worthless. In some severe cases, people may benefit from psychotropic medication. However, learning helpful thought patterns, living a lifestyle that enhances our relationships, feeding our spiritual souls, and taking care of our physical bodies, will help us maintain balanced and healthy thinking in our daily life.

If worrying is still getting you down, try these two cognitive behavioral techniques taken from the book called: The Anxious Brain; The Neurobiological Basis of Anxiety Disorders and How to Effectively Treat Them, by authors Wehrenberg and Prinz.

  • Do the worst first. If you are stressed about making a phone call or paying a bill, do them first, so they no longer worry you.
  • Worry well and only once.
    • Set 10 minutes aside to worry about your concern
    • Worry about all the issues involved in your concern
    • Formulate an action plan to deal with the worry, if your worry were to occur
    • Make a time when it will be necessary to think about the worry again.
    • Write that time in your calendar (so you won’t forget to worry about it)
    • Then whenever the worry resurfaces in your mind, say “Stop! I already worried!” Then divert your concentration immediately on to something else. (p. 164-165)

Sometimes managing our anxious thoughts feels like an everyday, up-hill battle. But learning techniques to help manage our anxiety does work, and will ease the pain as one continues to learn how to live above one’s anxiety.