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  • Natalie Hall

The Worry Cycle


Worry is stressful, that’s for sure, but given that all behaviour has positive intent - what do we get out of all that worrying? 


Usually nothing that does anyone any favours. However, worry may be drawing your attention to something that needs resolving - something that you have been avoiding.


Most of us will face things we’d rather not in our lives, but worrying about the consequences makes the situation worse. We feel bad in advance about what might happen - how pointless is that! Even though the situation is imaginary the stress we feel is real. Anything can be worried over and when we worry our outlook becomes negative.


Have you ever asked yourself what is your worrying strategy? Do you do any of the following:


  • Over-responsibility for a problem – when the reality is that the responsibility lies with you as a couple or as a team.

  • Incessant thinking, minimal action – lots and lots of thinking about a problem, with little action taken.

  • Downward spiralling – worrying which gets out of control and other problems attach to it and you end up catastrophising.

  • You may have developed a favourite time to worry - Sunday evening before a working week or in bed before you go to sleep, or on the way to work.


Good news is that there are techniques to help you break the worry cycle: 1. How do you do worry? Think about your strategies above to help you identify your patterns.

2. Acknowledge you are worrying - take a step back and try to add some perspective / see it how it really is. Is this a path that’s leading you nowhere right now?

3. Distract yourself for example, “Love Island” - be aware of how your body changes when you distract yourself.

4. Ask yourself the following questions: what has to be true for this to be realistic? Is there any evidence that these things will happen?

5. Change the original worry questions - ask instead “What will I do if X happens?” - this reframes the worry, puts the event into the future, distances you from them and changes your attention from the events to you actions.


6. Then ask “Is this likely to happen?” you may need to create a plan now if the answer is yes or if it’s no then perhaps it’s time to let it go….


7. If you need to make a plan – then ask yourself, what do I want to happen? Work on your optimal outcome – think about all the options, try and select the one that gives you the best feeling. Suppose you go through these steps and it seems that there’s nothing you can do…..then there’s NOTHING you can do. Accept the situation as it is for the moment. It may change. Nothing is predictable. 

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