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5 Reasons We Worry, and 5 Ways to Worry Less

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https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/think-act-be/201610/5-reasons-we-worry-and-5-ways-worry-less

psychologytoday.com

5 Reasons We Worry, and 5 Ways to Worry Less
As we get older and look back on our lives, many of us will think, "I wish I'd worried less." We come to recognize that worry isn't worth what it can cost-tension, poor sleep, irritability, fatigue, problems concentrating, and general unhappiness. After all, most of what we worry about never happens.

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Anxiety is rewarding

Each time we worry and nothing bad happens, our mind connects worry with preventing harm:

Worry → nothing bad happens.

And the takeaway is, "It's a good thing I worried."&nbs...

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Beliefs about worry

  • If I worry, I'll never have a bad surprise.
  • It's safer if I worry. We believe that the act of worrying itself somehow lowers the likelihood of a dreaded outcome. 

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Tools to assist us with worry

Tools to assist us with worry
  • Calm the nervous system with guided muscle relaxation, meditation, and exercise. 
  • Notice when you're worrying and any beliefs that reinforce worry.  Awaren...

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All fears are not created equal

Some are useful, and some are useless fears that you can't or shouldn't do anything about. 

They sap your strength for no reason, and you shou...

Fear can harm you

In scuba diving, for instance, fear can cause you to breathe too fast, swim too hard, move too suddenly, fail to take note of your surroundings, or rise too quickly toward the surface.

Knowing that fear has the potential to harm you can help you set it aside. Fold up that fear, put it in a box, and promise you'll get back to it later at a less dangerous time.

Fear and chemicals

You may think it's your judgment deciding that something is dangerous and you should be afraid, but what actually happens is that fear chemicals are flooding into your brain.

Experiments have shown that fear can be induced artificially by injecting certain chemicals. Do the chemicals know what you should and shouldn't be afraid of? They don't. You do.

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Overthinking

It  means overanalyzing something that happened, regretting an action, or worrying about the future of something. 

It's when you can't think about anything else, and it'...

Overthinking and action

If you're overthinking an idea you can actually do something about, the best thing you can do is take action now.

This doesn't mean you have to suddenly run off to make something, it just means you start taking a step forward. We tend to overthink because we fear failure, but if we just start working, that dissipates quickly

Break the circle of overthinking:

  • Relabel the ideas you're overthinking ("self-doubt," "anxiety," etc)
  • Reframe your experience and identify your thinking errors
  • Refocus your attention on the part that matters
  • Revalue your brain's messages with the new information

Stressing about sleep

Before a stressful work event, we tend to worry about what will happen if we don’t sleep well:

  • We worry that we’ll be physically tired.
  • We worry that ...

Sleep mistakes

... we make when it comes to sleeping well before a big day:

  • We try too hard to sleep and we end up making it harder to fall asleep.
  • We overestimate the negative consequences of poor sleep.

Sleep restriction

It's a technique for improving the quality of your sleep by using the power of Sleep Drive (the body’s natural need for sleep). Sleep Drive is built during the day: the longer you’re awake the stronger your need for sleep. 

Sleep Restriction temporarily restricts the quantity of your sleep so that you’re awake longer and therefore build up more Sleep Drive.

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