Are you inundated by constant worrying and anxious thoughts? How can psychotherapy help.
Psychotherapy can help you manage your worried mind and ease anxiety.
Anxiety and worry is a normal part of life. It is perfectly natural to worry about an upcoming interview, presentation or first date. Problems arise when this natural level of worry becomes persistent, excessive and uncontrollable. If you answer yes to the question ‘is my worry interfering with my everyday life’ then it might be time to seek help.
Working with a therapist can be extremely beneficial to helping you make the changes you want in your life. A therapist might firstly try to explore different aspects of your worry and then work with you to find ways to help you manage it. Your therapist might want to know
How your worry is affecting your life?
How long have you experienced this intense worry?
If there are times when your worry is more or less invasive?
Are their themes or common threads underlying your worries?
By exploring the different elements to your worry your therapist can build up a picture and from there decide on particular interventions.
Through the course of the work you may be given some tools to help you explore the nature of your worry and to help yourself manage your worry. Here are some ideas
Worry can often be about things in the future, on what might happen and how you will manage it or about the past, replaying things you have said or done. Mindfulness can help you by bringing your attention back to the present. Observe and acknowledge your worries. Rather than ignoring, fighting or trying to control them just observe them without reacting or judging them.
Stay in the present. The pull of your worries will be strong and this is not about putting up a fight. When you feel yourself being pulled into anxiety or worry just bring your attention back to your body, your breathing and your environment. It can be helpful just to bring your attention to your feet (how they make contact with your socks, shoes, the floor). Your breath can also be a great anchor so use it to bring yourself back to the present.
Life a cloud let your worries drift on by. We often get stuck when we engage in our worries so let them pop up and know they will soon pass.
Give yourself ‘worry time’. Allot a certain time of the day to worrying. Choose a time (not too close to bedtime) and a place and let yourself worry. You might decide 3.30-3.45 every day is your worry time. Through the day if worries pop into your head you can say ‘I will think about that at 3.30’ and then let it go. At 3.30 you can give yourself 15 minutes to worry about all of the things you wish to (but just for 15 minutes).
Practice relaxation. Progressive muscular relaxation can help you bring your focus onto your body and away from your thoughts. Work your way through the muscles of your body, tensing and relaxing each one (hold tension for 5 count and completely relax it).
Write down your worries. When a worry comes up, write it down. You can tell yourself that you will have time to think about it later (in your ‘worry time’) and then let it go in this moment. Also, sometimes writing things down can give the worry less power and lets you have some distance from it.
Challenge your thinking. Cognitive distortions are a list of ways an individual can think about things and in ways that make things seem more threatening than they really are. Some of these cognitive distortions are All or Nothing Thinking, Over-generalisation, Disqualifying the Positive and Mental Filter, Jumping to Conclusions, Catastrophising. By working with your therapist you can see if you are engaging in any of these and in turn tackle them
Using different methods to tackle your worry is simple in theory but can be harder in practice. It is important that you practice different techniques regularly so that they become habitual. You may get frustrated if things are not happening fast enough but stick with it. Each time you engage in a technique that helps reduce your worry (and bring you back to the present), you are reinforcing a new mental habit that will help you break free from the negative worry cycle