According to a survey published by Mr Really Worried on his blog the average Briton spends 2 hours and fifteen minutes worrying, which adds up to 34 days
a year. Don’t forget – that’s only an average figure – which means that
at least 29 million people on these islands are doing a lot more
worrying than that.
Worry creates Anxiety, which in turn
leads to wear and tear on your body, as it attempts to adapt to the
increased strain that Headmind has created for you. The result?
Stress-related illnesses like:
- Stomach ulcers
- Heart disease
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Gastric reflux
As well as a host of other diseases that stem from the alcohol,
tobacco and drugs that people may use to mask the effects of anxiety.
I am not necessarily saying that Stress causes these illnesses. It could
just be that it amplifies them. But the conclusion is the same: each
and every time you worry you damage your health.
I am sometimes asked, by chronic worriers I have met: ‘What is the difference between
a problem and a worry? Most of the things that bother me aren’t worries
– they are real-life disasters!’
The answer is that a problem is a concern which you can do something about. A worry is a delusional state in which Headmind conjures up a horrific state of affairs that is
seemingly going to happen in the future (but rarely does). For example:
you may be suffering financially from the credit crunch. The related
problem could be that you now need to reduce your debt and you could do
that by talking to your bank manager, reducing your spending, talking
things over with your partner, searching for another job, etc. A worry
might be that you might end up in poverty, or in prison, or on the
streets. Dangerous words create nightmares.
If you worry you will
immediately become anxious, jittery, agitated. You won’t be able to
think straight and you will be dominated by a panicky inner voice. You
may also feel nauseous, tense and upset.
If you catch yourself in one of these states, here’s what you do:
- Get up quickly and go to another room, or get out of the building
- While you are doing that shout ‘STOP’ as loud as you can inside your head – or
press the STOP button on the ‘tape recorder’ inside your head
- Recall a moment in your life when you dealt with problems in a good way. ‘Ask’
the ‘You’ in this recalled state a question: ‘Is this a Problem or am I just letting Worry take over?’
- If the answer is that it is a Problem then ‘ask’ yourself ‘What one small thing can I do now to act on this?’ (Remember, if there is no action you can take, the it is a worry, not a concern)
- If the answer from your better self is that it is a Worry then immediately go and do something that occupies your full attention in an enjoyable way. I especially recommend doing
something physically strenous that raises endorphins
‘If you believe that feeling bad or worrying long
enough will change a past or future event, then you are residing on
another planet with a different reality system.‘