Worry Management Techniques
Sep 28, 2016
Worry Management Techniques
There’s no denying that modern life is fast-paced and at times, brutally busy. There are never enough hours in the day, yet just like ‘dessert stomachs’ there always seems to be space for worrying. If you’ve tried the macaroons at Chiswick’s Chateau Dessert, you’ll know what we mean.
The latest stats from Rescue Remedy reveal just how stressed British adults are, with a huge 86% of respondents admitting that they worry on a regular basis. From work and finance to family and self-satisfaction, the average adult spends around one hour and 50 minutes a day worrying. Over the course of a year, this adds up to an alarming 28 days. Basically, we’re a nation of worriers.
While scientists admit that there is likely a biological component to chronic worry, they also stress that environmental factors play an integral role. This means that actively changing negative behaviours can, and does make a difference.
So how can you worry less? Here’s four ways to clear your head, de-stress and keep your worrying in check.
Share the load
According to the same study, just 34% of adults are willing to share their concerns with others. One in four people prefer to keep their worries bottled up, which ultimately leads to even more stress. Sharing anxieties with trustees is a hugely effective way to offload stress, and gain perspective.
Interestingly, social media and smartphones were cited as two of the biggest stress-inducers. The majority of employees admitted to finding it impossible to switch out of work mode, which makes it extremely difficult to relax, unwind and enjoy worry-free time. For executives, checking emails after hours can seem like a necessity, but the reality is that this can get stress levels soaring.
“The rate and flow of information due to the changing ways we communicate and smart technologies like phones and watches have resulted in many of us being bombarded with information that can cause us to worry about things that we wouldn’t have even known about in the past,” explains Neil Shah from The Stress Management Society.
“For example you receive a complaint, or a message from a manager adding to your workload, by email, pop up on your phone at 9pm and you end up losing sleep over it! In the past you wouldn’t even find out about it until you got to work in the morning and had the opportunity to immediately address it.”
The remedy? Give yourself permission to sign off, and don’t become a slave to your smartphone.
Despite the fact that worrying is all about stressing over what might happen, an acclaimed study has confirmed that lo and behold, 85% of concerns never actually materialise. Furthermore, of the 15% of worries that do come to light, 79% of subjects found that they managed difficulties better than expected, or learnt a valuable lesson in the process. Therefore, 97% of worries are nothing more than your mind subjecting you to unjust exaggerations.
“My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”
While French Renaissance philosopher Michel de Montaigne may have lived 500 years ago, his comments are spot on.
Make a list
It’s the oldest trick in the book, but making a list of your worries can be an extremely effective way to overcome stress. Once you’ve honed in on the issues themselves, you can analyse each worry individually, and determine whether your worry is productive, or unproductive. Take action on productive worries, which are concerns that you can control. In contrast, unproductive worries are things that you can’t do anything about. These spiralling proliferations of 'what if’ can become all consuming, but are ultimately futile. For example, worrying about whether or not you may get cancer is categorically unproductive.
While a worry-free existence may be unrealistic, implementing the above techniques will help reduce stress levels, and live a life that’s not dominated by disquiet.