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Worry, Worry, Worry

Worry and Anxiety

Generalised Anxiety Disorder is the name we give to people who worry too much. Now, everyone worries, but an estimated eight percent of us, or 36,000 adults in Cornwall, worry so much that they lose sleep and feel physically ill with worry.

It is our brain’s job to stay on the look-out for potential danger. However, sometimes our brain does too good a job and we see “What If” catastrophes around every corner. “What if I lose my job?” “What if my child has an accident?” “What if this headache is cancer?” Our brains are keeping us safe, but unfortunately, the rate of false alarms is astronomically high.

Telling a worried person not to worry is well meant but totally ineffective. So, what works?

Getting into the habit of asking yourself whether the worry is productive or not can be helpful. A productive worry is one that you can respond to instantly. For example, if you are facing losing your job, then worrying about whether you have updated your CV is a productive worry. You can check and do something about it. Productive worries can become today’s to-do list. However, worrying that you will never find another job is not a productive worry because there is nothing you can do to find out whether it’s true or not. Writing down unproductive worries and then saving them for a designated ‘worry time’ may sound like a strange idea. But in fact people who try to put some time limits around their worrying tend to find this incredibly helpful.

Chronic worriers don’t often see they have a problem. They just accept it as part of who they are. This is a shame because we know that help, in the form of CBT, can make a big difference.

For NHS funded therapy for stress, anxiety or depression, phone (01208) 871905 or register online - [HERE

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