I am seeing a marked increase in worry/anxiety and panic attacks in clients over the last several years. People hypothesize that it is due to both regular media and social media. Whatever is the cause of it, you will be better off if you are able to better cope with worry. First let’s look at UNHEALTHY ways of coping with worry.
Excerpts from book The Worry Cure by Dr. Robert Leahy.
Dr. Leahy discusses things to do IF you want to let worry CONTROL your life. This is something none of us intentionally want to do, but seem to do anyway.
Below is what he would teach an alien to do if they wanted to come down to earth and learn to handle worry in an UNHEALTHY manner thus allowing worry to control their life.
Rules To Let Worry CONTROL Your Life
- If there is even a slight chance that something bad can happen… if you are able to simply conjure it up in your mind then you MUST make it your responsibility to worry about it. Examples are losing your job, having a relationship end , being diagnosed with a disease or failing a test.
- Don’t accept any uncertainty. You NEED to know for sure. Focus on the fact that you could be that one in a thousand who will have that negative thing happen. If your friends and loved ones reassure you that you are fine then you MUST REJECT their reassurances because they do not know for sure.
- You must act as if all of your negative thoughts and fears are really TRUE. React as if the bad thing has already happened.
- Subscribe to the theory that it is all about you! So any bad things that happen are because of YOUR shortcomings and issues. Negative things are NEVER about anyone else. They always reflect something bad about you. It is your responsibility to make sure everything is ok and turns out positively. Your problems are not simply small challenges that everyone faces. They are problems that happen as a result of something bad you have done.
- You must believe that failure is never ok. Things must always be fair, just an equitable. Making mistakes is never ok, being sick is never ok and perfection is the only thing allowed.
- Try and eliminate negative feelings NOW! You can never have negative emotions. Negative feelings are unacceptable. Negative THOUGHTS are ok, but not negative feelings.
- Treat everything as if it is a five alarm fire and needs to be tended to immediately! If you have a bad thought in the middle of the night, act on it immediately! Call someone, wake someone up, and do NOT wait because by then it could be too late. This is not a time for patience!
***Again, these are UNHEALTHY ways to cope with worry. You do NOT want to do these things listed above. The above examples are listed to prove the point that worrying keeps you living in a state of panic. You cannot live in a state of panic and harmony simultaneously. There are healthy ways to cope with worry.
Do you need to learn to control your worries and not have them control you? Do you want a more harmonious life?
Call me, let’s chat.
Laurie Shoats L.M.F.T. (Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist)
Real Life Solutions Counseling, Inc