I am the queen of worrying. I worry when my husband is late from work. I worry that I left lights on when I leave the house for the weekend. I even worry when my little boy sleeps longer than usual. I've always been an anxious person, and I constantly worry about small details and things that I can't control.
Excessive worrying is a challenge many individuals face. Unfortunately, it brings on unhealthy side effects. According to WebMD, excessive worrying triggers the fight or flight response, which causes the body to release cortisol, a stress hormone. These hormones have many physical reactions including a fast heartbeat, fatigue, irritability, muscle aches, headaches, nausea, rapid breathing and shortness of breath.
I've learned throughout the years that I can't live my life constantly worrying about every small detail. I have to trust myself and become a warrior, not a worrier. I've made this breakthrough by asking myself the following questions each time I begin to worry and feel anxious.
Is the problem something I can control?
When I begin to worry, I analyze the situation and identify if the problem is something I can control. Most of the time, I find I worry about things that I have little control over and situations that I cannot determine the outcome. If you find you can't control the problem, take a few deep breaths and walk away. There is no reason it should consume your time.
Will it matter in a year? Five years? Twenty years?
When our emotions begin to take over, it becomes easy to get caught up in the moment. You may find that you lose sleep over a situation that won't make any difference a week or a month from now. When faced with a problem, determine if the outcome will matter later down the road. If the outcome doesn't matter, push your worried thoughts away and focus on things you love such as your family, friends, a hobby, a book and more.
Am I blowing the situation out of proportion?
I am guilty of making a small problem seem like my entire world is falling apart. It is human nature to take a situation that affects our emotions and blow it out of proportion, but you should avoid this type of behavior. It can cause even more anxiety, stress and frustration in your life. Always sit back and think things through with a clear head. When you think rationally, your answers will be more realistic and come to you more easily.
Am I jumping to conclusions?
When anxiety kicks in, it is easy to be dramatic. We begin to think of the worst possible scenario and then just assume that is what will happen. To avoid this, do all you can to identify the problem and focus on a solution - not the "what ifs" of the problem. When you jump to conclusions, your worrying will only increase.
Is there a solution?
To battle excessive worrying, the most important question to ask yourself is, "What is the solution?" If there is a problem at hand, there must be a solution. Don't waste time worrying about what will happen. Tackle the problem head-on with a well-thought out solution. If you don't think things through clearly, your solution will not be as effective.
If you are an excessive worrier, you can overcome it. You can become a warrior, one who tackles situations and problems without dwelling on the problems, issues and worries that come along with it.