How do you keep yourself from worrying

Break through the carousel of worries - what to do if worries don't want to stop?

This is a time to be concerned. It is normal to be concerned, and it is not harmful at all. Worrying means playing through problems in your mind in order to come to a solution. But if you notice that you are not able to do this and instead you go around in circles or jump from one concern to the next without ever finally processing them, then these are the warning signs. You should then change something so that your worries do not take on a life of their own that burdens you unnecessarily and paralyzes your thinking.

How common is that?

Temporarily, roughly every second adult has excessive worry at some point. After all, every tenth person still has worries that last for at least 6 months. It can be said that long-term excessive worries are very stressful. They prevent us from thinking clearly and can lead to wrong behavior - especially in times of crisis.

Why are we doing this

When our worries are about something very bad, we feel fear and tension. In order to feel better, we then try very quickly to put the worries aside. We tend not to think them through to the end. This temporarily makes the fear and tension better. This tempts you to do it more and more often and more and more. The problem with this is that this behavior costs effort and prevents us from devising solutions to our problems. The unresolved worries keep coming back like a boomerang: we end up in a "worry spiral". This can also take the form of a "chain of worries", namely when we jump from one concern to the next without ever thinking through one of these worries to the end.

What can I do against it?

Recognize triggers:

Often there are certain things that trigger your worries. This could be the news on television or radio, the social media, conversations with others, or something you see or hear that reminds you of your concern.

Eliminate triggers:

If you can identify triggers, then you can try to reduce them (e.g. only listening to the news once a day) or change your reaction to them. There are various measures for this.

Introduce fixed worry times:

For example, you can define very clear worry times when you can worry (e.g. in the morning from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. or in the evening from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., but preferably not right before bed). As a result, you are "cleared" of the worries for the rest of the time and do not have to brood endlessly.

Thinking through a concern to the end:

Interestingly, it is very relieving to think through the "worst possible" case instead of constantly wasting energy on suppressing the worry and the fear that comes with it. Psychologists call this "decastrophizing". Once you have consistently worked through your worst worry, most of the time you will find that an absolute catastrophe is rather unlikely. The more realistic scenarios, on the other hand, no longer appear so bad and you feel prepared yourself for an emergency.

Message lock:

A message limit also helps. Do not consume the news all day, but rather get specific information once, or if you cannot keep up with it, twice, but no more. The constant preoccupation with the topic leads to the fact that you only think about it and can no longer carry out your other tasks and concerns properly.

How likely is it that with practice I can control excessive worry?

That depends on how motivated you are and how well you are practicing. You can also interact with loved ones or friends who can help you actually do the exercises. With regular exercise, you will very quickly notice a significant improvement in your worries.

Will that also help me when the corona crisis is over?

Even if the current corona crisis is over, crises will keep coming up in all of our lives. If you can control excessive worry, it will also help you with new challenges.

Author of the web contribution: J├╝rgen Margraf