Worry, Fear and Anxiety

This seems to be an “Age of Worry.” Obsessing over even minor things seems to be the norm for many people. Many spend a lot of time feeling anxious. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, with about 18 percent of the population or 40 million adults being affected. In the book, The Fear and Anxiety Solution, author Dr. Friedemann Schaub states, “We feel out of control even though there is probably no immediate threat to ourselves.” He goes on to say we are perpetually on Code Red with every detail of every horror in the world blasted at us 24/7 and we don’t have enough information to make sense of the constant barrage of news. Other reasons for feeling anxious include more pressure and competition in society with less time to rest and calmly figure things out. From kindergarten through college and into adulthood, expectations have changed, and unless you reach a certain standard you may be seen as a failure. Our culture tells us there are quick fixes to every problem but we know the effects are short-lived and could make us feel worse or worry more. Worry does not necessarily increase with age; about half of chronic worriers begin their pattern during childhood or adolescence. So what can you do to quiet the worries? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Assess the true threat level. Examine the evidence for and against your worry and determine if it is realistic or irrational.
  2. Can you take any concrete action? Is it solvable? If so, write out negative worries for 10 minutes a day and only get anxious during this worry period. You will eventually become desensitized.
  3. Exercise to burn off excess anxiety or calm yourself with yoga.
  4. Meditation can reduce anxiety by relaxing your mind and body to let go of negative thoughts and tension.
  5. Look at your sleep habits. People who sleep shorter hours or go to bed very late are often overwhelmed with negative thoughts; a strong link exists between lack of sleep and mood changes.
  6. Talk to someone; only about 1/3 of sufferers receive treatment yet anxiety disorders are highly treatable.

From 2016 Grandparents.com

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