How to Stop The Endless Worry Cycle

by | Aug 2, 2022 | Podcast

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We all experience the endless worry cycle. According to a Psychology Today article, “at least one in four Americans – about 65 million of us—will meet the criteria for an anxiety disorder at some point in our lifetime. Even those individuals whose lives are going well may occasionally worry excessively.” In our best moments, worry can take us down a spiral of fear where our minds play out dramas that leave us feeling powerless, vulnerable, and afraid. In our worst moments, worry can be paralyzing and health-diminishing. Excessive worrying can lead to poor decision-making and deter us from taking life-improving risks.

The crazy-making part of the worry cycle is that 99.9% of the time, the things we fret about never happen. Worry is a timewaster, an energy suck, a diminisher of life quality. Engaging in it rarely changes anything. Unfortunately, it’s hard to stop worrying. Good news, though; there are some ways to get out of your brain-spinning story of fear and worry.

During this week’s episode of Reflect Forward, I share tips on breaking the endless worry cycle.

1. Get some exercise: Moving your body is guaranteed to make you feel better. It not only provides a distraction, but exercise also causes your body to release endorphins which are “feel good” hormones that increase happiness, focus, and energy.

2. Challenge the Worry Cycle with Tough Questions: Put your worry into perspective by journaling about it. Write down what you are worried about and why.

3. Power Pose: Amy Cuddy’s powerful TED Talk on Power Posing outlines the benefits of using dominant body postures to gain confidence and reduce anxiety. While there are Power Posing naysayers, I have found doing them to be incredibly helpful when I am anxious, especially when speaking in front of people.

4. Talk it Out: Talking about your worry allows you to process it while gaining perspective and insight. Ask a confidant to listen and offer advice (if appropriate). If that doesn’t work, a therapist can be a good listener and provide you with worry-management tools.

5. Get Some Sleep: Sleep deprivation has been proven to increase anxiety and depression, compounding the “what if” problem. To better handle what life so throws at you, get 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Of course, excessive worrying can cause insomnia, creating a cycle that’s hard to break.

A small amount of worry is healthy, but letting it take over your life can lead to major health issues. The good news is that most of what you worry about will never come to be. For those things that do…trust yourself and your capacity to handle whatever life throws at you. You can cope with, survive, and move beyond whatever happens. Believe in yourself and you will be pleasantly surprised.

Question of the Week

My question of the week comes from one of my employees. “Kerry, I know you love to ask questions. What is your favorite question to ask?” Hands down: what do you think? That’s my favorite question.

Tune in to find out why.

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