Most people worry on a daily basis about small things; did you turn your straighteners off before you left the house? Did you forget your keys?
But for others, it’s a more deep-rooted issue and it’s almost impossible to switch off. Unrelenting worries can be exhausting and, ultimately, debilitating.
For Mental Health Awareness Week we’re looking at the most searched questions on Google surrounding mental health, and unsurprisingly, worrying comes near the top.
It goes without saying that there’s no straightforward way to just ‘switch off’ when you feel paralyzed with worry, but there are some simple steps you can take to try to reframe your thoughts and make day to day life a little easier.
Schedule time to worry
Whether its ten or thirty minutes, deciding a time-frame where you’ll confront your worries can help you shelve those thoughts for the rest of the day.
The psychology behind this works on the premise that worrying has no limits because there are endless things that you can worry about, and your worries can be repetitive.
By limiting these thoughts to a specific amount of time, you are more likely to look for a solution too, rather than just dwelling on them.
If you catch yourself worrying outside of this time frame, just remind yourself that you have dedicated time to think about it later.
Talk about your worries
It’s a tired but true cliche that a problem shared is a problem halved.
Talking to friends and family about your worries can be cathartic and can help make your worries seem less overwhelming.
Verbalising and discussing your worries may help you understand which ones are needless, and a loved one can help you think of solutions.
Most worries relate to scenarios and ‘what ifs’ which could take place in the future so another way to alleviate your worries is to try your hardest to focus only on the present moment.
Enter mindfulness, which is all about being aware of, and giving attention to, the present moment.
There are various ways you can practise mindfulness, from formal methods such as yoga, tai-chi or meditation to just trying to be more mindful in your day-to-day.
Find out more about mindfulness and how to get started on the NHS website. You can also visit the Mental Health Foundation’s website where they offer an online mindfulness course.
Alternatively apps such as Headspace can help you get started on mindfulness and meditation.
Avoid ‘what ifs’
Worst case scenarios are highly unusual. They may play out in your head as a likely result, but it’s important to step back and assess the real likelihood of them happening.
None of us can predict the future and we worry about what may happen, instead of what will happen.
Remember that your ability to risk assess is impaired by your worries, so your perception of the situation may not be realistic either.
Try to step back and think about what is the worst that could happen, realistically?
Don’t avoid your worries
Focusing a little time to really think about your worries can help you take action to solve them. Avoid procrastination by writing them down and thinking about how to resolve them during your designated worry. Are they solvable, and how?
Try to avoid burying your head in the sand in terms of finding a solution, as your worries will often persist.
Mental Health questions answered
Google’s most-asked mental health questions in 2019 so far:
According to Google, the most frequently asked ‘how to’ questions relating to mental health this year so far are:
1. How to relieve stress
2. How to help anxiety
3. How to stop worrying
4. How to stop a panic attack
5. How to deal with stress
6. How to cope with depression
7. How to know if you have anxiety
8. How to know if you have depression
9. How to help someone with PTSD
10. How to overcome social anxiety
11. How to get help for depression
12. How to treat OCD
13. How to help a depressed friend
14. How to overcome a phobia
15. How to treat PTSD
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