Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Mental self defense: Worry

Do I worry? As a mom of 7 children, the answer is "yes". Most of my worry is well founded on reality, and situations. However, I also have a bad habit of worrying for things that are out of my control, unfounded, even just imaginary. This kind of negative worrying isn't good for me mentally, or even physically. The stress of it sets off my skin condition. I needed to look into finding some sort of self defense against worrying.

I stumbled across an article on the internet written by Dr. Edward Hallowell, author of the book "Worry", and I quote:

"So how to combat the potentially toxic effects of worry? Hallowell offered some advice.

The 5 steps

1. Never worry alone
By far the most important step, Hallowell said it's fine to worry, just don't get isolated and become the passive victim. When you're connected and brainstorming with someone else, you tend to come up with solutions.

2. Get the facts
"Toxic worry is usually based on either lack of information or wrong information," Hallowell said. Don't worry about what if , as Dr. Shapiro noted, worry about what is .

3. Make a plan
Once you have the facts, make a plan and take action. Don't worry about whether the plan works or not, Hallowell said that life is about revising plans. You're much better to be active, he said, noting that toxic worry loves a passive victim. Stay in the active mode.

4. Take care of your brain
"If you're not in good shape brain-wise, you're going to be prone to getting rattled and worried," he said. "What do I mean by take care of your brain? Obvious steps. Get enough sleep. Physical of the best anti-anxiety agents ever."

Also, maintain a proper diet. Don't self-medicate with a lot of carbs, junk food, alcohol, drugs, etc. He also mentioned that prayer and meditation , although often skipped over in medicine, can really play an important role in focusing the mind and reducing toxic worry.

And finally, regular doses of positive human contact. It's good to get a smile, a hug or a warm pat on the back.

5. Let it go
This is the hard one for toxic worriers.

"At least you can practice letting it go," Hallowell said. "Head in that direction. A lot of toxic worriers do just the opposite. They gather their worries unto them. They say ‘Where are my worries, come back,' almost as if they feel unsafe without them." "

Ah.. I will have to do babysteps in the direction of controlling my worries, and reactions to worries. Most of these suggestions make sense to me, but in the same breath, when you have a bad habit, it tends to be challenging to find new ways of acting/reacting to the problem. One good thing that will happen is that once I can place all of the above suggestions into action in my own life, I will be able to be a good role model for my own children when they start to "worry" in a negative way.


John Vesia said...

Worrying/anxiety can be one of the most debilitating and exhausting things we can do to ourselves. Irrational fear is everyone's enemy. Getting sufficient sleep and exercise is high on my list. Meditation is also helpful.

Oniyagi said...

Wow, 7 kids... I thought I had a lot with just 3! Go mom! I really liked that post. I find myself doing a lot in the worry department. Whether it comes from bills, or rpairs, or children. The problem with my worries is that I am a bottler, as I think most men are. I just stuff it away until there is no more room and them BAM! I explode and wind up staying in bed for a couple of days. Though I do have to say, since I started martial arts, I've not had any of those problems. There, I visualize my worries on the end of my fist or foot and punch/kick them away. During our meditation times, I reflect on why I am worrying and try and figure out if it is something that I can change or not. If I cannot change it, then why worry about it. If it can be changed, then change it... and dont worry about it. I guess that is the reason that I am so enthusiastic (as I keep getting called) about the martial arts. Not because it is cool to know, or that I can whoop the booty, but because it gives me a sense of peace and harmony through movement.

supergroup7 said...

Yes Gentlemen.. I would even hazard to say that worry can become one of our worst enemies ( If we allow it to be so..)

I agree about how martial arts helps me cope with the stresses, and worries of my life, it does help me get a sense of peace, harmony, and balance through expression of movement.

[Mat] said...

"It's good to get a smile, a hug or a warm pat on the back."

You're good. :)

Big hug.

Ruth said...

Thanks for this - it's a really excellent post and one that is really helpful to me (I worry over things far too much; things that I think _could_ happen).

Further to your previous post, I do plan to get back to you with more on martial arts and psychometrics (i.e. how doing martial arts might change one's personality and, more interestingly to me, the "personality types" that might tend to take to the martial arts). I've only read a small amount on this (in A Shotokan Karate Book of Facts Vols 1 and 2, by Clive Layton et al).

If it's ok with you, I'll blog a post on this in my blog at some point soon. I've a friend who's quite an expert in personality profiling using psychometric assessments (and in particular Myers briggs) and she may shed some interesting light on what I've discovered in my reading so far.

Ken Matsushi said...

Hai SuperGroup7. Thanks for visiting and post comments on my blog about Karate

You've got a nice blog. I will keep reading.

supergroup7 said...

Thank you Mat, for the virtual hug, and pat on the back. I appreciate it very much.

I can't wait to see that information, Ruth. It sounds fascinating! Please inform me when you post it.

You're welcome, Ken.. I was thinking about the Stretching information on your blog, and a question popped up in my head. Is it possible to stretch too far? Just because you can create the flexibility to kick way up past your head through effort, is it really a GOOD thing for your body to do that? or in other words, are there limits that we should impose on ourselves when concerning stretching?