Recognising Your Worries

Are there certain types of worry that appear more than once in your mind?

Write them down and have a careful look at them.

Have a look at the list below. If you have other types of worry write them down.

  • I worry about my health
  • I worry about the health of my family
  • I worry about my child's safety
  • I worry about my job
  • I  worry about being late
  • I worry that I canot keep the house tidy enough

After you recognise your worries, you need to find out if your worries are realistic.

Work out the three most common types of situations that make you feel anxious.

Ask your self

  • In what situation did I become anxious? (where was I, when was it and who was I with?)
  • How anxious was I?
  • what actually happened?
  • what advice would I give to a friend in this situation?
  • Could I have reacted different?
  • What would I do if this happened again?

Use a scale to grade your anxiety from not anxious at all (0)  upto severe anxiety (10).

List your worries, each with its score and sort them from the least worrying to the most worrying.

Facing up to your worries

Many people find that it is easier to avoid situations that make them anxious rather than deal with them. However, facing your worries is an important part of overcoming them.

The idea of facing your worries may seem frightening, but you can practice and learn to deal with them slowly. Practising allows you to build up your confidence and can reduce your anxiety in the future. Always face your worries at your own pace -- don't try to do too much, too soon.

There are three stages in learning to overcome your anxiety.

  • Setting targets.
  • Grading tasks.
  • Practising tasks.

Setting targets

write a list of objects or situations that you avoid or that make you anxious, then arrange your list in order of difficulty (the situation that makes you least anxious should be at the top, going down to the situation that makes you most anxious at the bottom).

Grading tasks

start with the easiest task at the top of your list (only tackle one task at a time), and write down ways in which you could achieve this task step by step. This is known as " grading tasks ". Plan a series of small, detailed steps of increasing difficulty for each task that you have set. for example, if catching a crowded train makes you anxious, gradual steps to overcome this could include the following:

Step 1: catch the train with a friend at a time when there are not many people

step 2: repeat step one, but travel at a busier time.

Step 3: Repeat step two, but travel part of the way on your own.

Practising tasks

Practice each step as often as you need to until you can manage it without difficulty, and then move on to the next step. Some people find that when they practice each task, it takes time before they are anxiety begins to fade. To overcome this, you should practice each step more than once to allow your anxiety to pass. This will make sure that you don't lose the benefits of what you gain.

Always reward yourself for each task that you complete -- keep a diary to remind yourself how well you have done. Don't be hard on yourself if you find it difficult at first. Give yourself encouragement, and you will find that slowly you are able to face up to your worries.

achieving your goals

It may take time to feel comfortable with these self-help techniques. Just remember that even though you may feel you are not doing them properly, this is a common feeling and that it will pass.

Ask a friend or family member to help you. They could help you to recognise unhelpful thoughts. discuss alternative thoughts with them. They may help you to keep calm in the situation that usually upset you, known as "trigger situations".

After a week, repeat the exercises and see how much progress you have made. Carry on and see how many other things are improving after two and three weeks.

Golden Rules

  • Plan practical solutions ahead of time to deal with possible difficulties.
  • Try to look at your problems in a realistic way and do things to stop yourself from brooding.
  • Don't be too hard on yourself.
  • Reward yourself for things you have done well.
  • Share your worries.
  • Develop friendships, for example, join a club.
  • Remember, fresh air and regular exercise makes you feel better.
  • Eat proper meals at regular intervals.
  • Relax and take time out during the day. Make time for yourself every day.
  • Enjoy yourself.