How to Stay Worry Free and Active Throughout your Day
What is worry? Worry is that anxious feeling you sometimes get when you think about things that are going on (or not going on) in your world. One of my favorite quotes about worrying is by author Dan Zadra. He stated that worry is a misuse of imagination. What a powerful and true statement. Typically, worry involves thoughts about what bad things might happen in the future and concern regarding your ability to cope.
Everyone worries at some point in their life. It is a state of mind that tends to increase when danger or problems exist, or when a person must face a new, unfamiliar situation. The problem with worry is that it can sometimes be immobilizing. The increased anxiety brought on by worry can make it difficult to make decisions, and the more important the decision the harder it can be to decide.
Why Do People Worry?
Typically, people worry without conscious control almost as if they are on autopilot. There are two reasons this usually occurs. First, they believe that worrying can prevent or minimize negative outcomes. Second, people believe there are positive effects to worrying. Some typical worried thinking includes:
- Maybe I'll find a solution.
- I don't want to overlook anything.
- If I keep thinking a little longer, maybe I'll figure it out.
- I don't want to be surprised.
- I want to be responsible..
Have you ever wondered if worrying serves a purpose? On the surface it may appear so, but underneath it all worry is just the production of anxiety. Worry is not problem solving. Instead, it steals your energy, causes fatigue, exacerbates aches and pains, and leaves you vulnerable to illness.
Worry takes you out of the present. Because you are focusing on "what if" you are not truly experiencing "what is." In this way, worry prevents us from enjoying the moments we are currently in. Instead, try to consciously bring your thoughts back to the here and now. Take a moment and simply focus on what is going on around you. What do you see? Hear? Smell? Thinking of nothing but right now is a great way to reduce the anxiety created by worry and is the first step to staying worry free throughout your day.
Next, consider this: If the problem you are worrying over is within your power to solve, why worry? If the problem you are worrying over is not within you power to solve, why worry? In fact, a study funded by the National Science Foundation and conducted by Dr. Walter Calvert found that only 8 % of our worries are over legitimate troubles. In addition, 40% of the things we worry about never actually occur.
The Workplace Workout: How Stress Relief Activities at Work Can Reduce Anxiety and Worry
Exercise, meditation, and other stress management techniques are an excellent way to manage the anxiety that comes with worrying. The average person will spend 99,464 hours at work over the course of their lifetime. Learning how to relieve anxiety and how to overcome stress is essential to maintaining a happy and healthy life. We often think that we don't have time and when you consider how much time we have to spend doing things we have to do, such as work, it can be easy to become discouraged. But, there are ways of incorporating healthy stress relieving strategies into your day, thereby, reducing the anxiety of worries.
Remember exercise can be cumulative. You may not have one chunk of time to devote to working out, but it is imperative that you keep moving throughout your day, particularly if your job is sedentary. to Here are a few tips to get more stress relieving activity in your day.
- After getting a quick bite to eat, use half your lunch break to workout. This can be as simple as a brisk walk around the parking lot.
- Keep light weights in your office and perform arm curls or shoulder presses at your desk as you go about your daily work routine.
Quotes About Worrying
"I am an old man and I have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.” --- Mark Twain
“Of all your troubles, great and small, the greatest are the ones that don't happen at all.” -- Thomas Carlyle
“Worry is like a rocking-chair. It gives you something to do buy gets you nowhere.” -- Wayne Bennett
“It ain't no use putting up your umbrella till it rains!” -- Alice Caldwell Rice
- Forget the chair sometimes and use an exercise ball instead. This is a great way to engage your core while at your desk.
- Stand up and perform a few calf raises throughout the day.
- While your standing, work on your balance by standing on one foot and then the other.
- Do 30 second blasts of activity throughout your day to get the blood flowing. If the work environment allows, jumping jacks are ideal.
- Perform stretches at your desk to prevent pain and stiffness throughout your day.
Side Neck Stretch
Face straight ahead and tilt your head so that your ear moves toward your shoulder. Be sure that your shoulder does not move up toward your ear. Hold stretch for 15 to 30 seconds then relax and slowly return to your start position. Tilt your head to the other side and repeat.
Lower Back Stretch
Start by sitting forward in your chair. Place your hands under one thigh and gently pull your knee towards your chest. Keep you back straight and be certain you do not lean forward while pulling your knee upward. Hold the stretch for 30 seconds. Relax and slowly return to the starting position. Repeat with the other leg.
Face straight ahead and lower your chin to your chest. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Relax and slowly return to your starting position.
Place one hand under your elbow, lift and stretch your elbow across your chest. Do not rotate your body as you stretch. Hold the stretch for 15 to 30 seconds. Relax and slowly return to the start position. Repeat with other arm.
Upper Arm Stretch
Lift one arm and bend it behind your head. Place your other hand on the bent elbow and stretch your upper arm and shoulder. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds then relax and slowly bring your arms back to their starting position. Repeat with other arm.
Place your hands behind your head and squeeze your shoulder blades together by pulling your elbows back as far as possible. Hold for 15-30 seconds and relax. Slowly bring arms to the start position.
What is the Difference Between Worry and Concern?
There is a difference in being concerned about something and worrying about it. When you are concerned about something it is typically a situation that is occurring NOW that you are not prepared for. Concern involves a specific situation that is upsetting or dangerous. It is a warning signal that you are truly facing something difficult. Worry, on the other hand, is thinking about things that may happen now or later (or may never happen). There is no concrete evidence to support worry. Instead, it is "what if" scenarios that have you anxious and on edge. Some other distinctions may include:
- Worry distracts us; Concern focuses us.
- Worry cripples planning; Concern helps us plan.
- Worry blurs our vision; Concern clarifies our purpose.
- Worry exaggerates; Concern pinpoints problems.
- Worry focuses on self; Concern cares for others.
Being concerned about something is more conducive to actually formulating a plan and solving the problem. Concern is not rooted in imagination but in fact. It does not say "what if." Instead, it focuses on what is and what can be done about what is. If the answer is nothing. Concern can typically let go. If your concern suddenly deviates into catastrophic thinking of all the possible negative outcomes of your situation (including the unrealistic) you have crossed over into worry.
More Tips for Reducing Worry
If you are looking for tips to live completely worry free and to NEVER have another worrying thought in life, the first thing you may need to do is to change your thinking about worries. Controlling your thoughts is one of the most difficult things to do, and worrying is really about your thinking. For many it is habitual and like many bad habits it can be difficult to break. For others, worry creeps up so silently that they are doing it before they even realize.
Instead, consider worry as something to be managed. It should not consume your life. It should not paralyze you to inaction. In other words, you should learn to control your worry and not let it control you. Some tips you may find helpful include:
Focus on the facts - worry often involves unrealistic predictions of what may occur. Stop the what if'ing and focus on only what is.
Label your worrying thoughts as just that - learn the difference between worry and concern. The ability to identify when you are worrying is essential to keeping things in perspective. Labeling your worrying thoughts will make it easier for you to let them go.
Organize you worry - Some have found it helpful to have a time and/or a place to do their worrying. Setting aside time each day to do your worrying may sound like a crazy idea, but many have found that it keeps their worrisome thoughts from overwhelming them throughout the day. You may also want to keep a notepad close by and jot down any worries that may enter your mind over the course of your day. This way you will have them available when it is worry time.
Take the worry test - When you are worried about something take 60 seconds to answer the following 4 questions:
1. How likely is this to really happen? (1 = Extremely improbably to 5 = Virtually certain)
2. How accurate is my information? (1 = Highly doubtful to 5 = Absolutely reliable)
3. Are there practical steps I can take to prevent or solve this if it happens? (1 = Many steps to 5 = No way of improving this matter)
4. How serious are the likely consequences? (1 = Not very serious to 5 = Catastrophic)
If your problem scores between 5 and 10 the worry is trivial and you should not waste further time on it. A score between 11 and 15 may warrant concern but only to motivate action. Define the practical steps needed to improve your situation. A score of 16 and above means that there is likely nothing you can do to improve you circumstances. In this case, why worry?