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Author Topic: I'm worrying more by the "stop worrying" life advice? (personal story included)  (Read 232 times)

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Offline gesi1223

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I've read tons of self-help articles and watched videos, looking constantly for clarity with my anxiety. They say to "stop worrying" or "stop worrying unless it's an important thing NOW" a lot. Now, I know worrying is something I want don't want to do of course. So I really want to try and not do it. But at the same time I can't help but feel confused. It feels like mixed messages in my head. Then I get depressed and even MORE anxious. Is this advice actually helpful to people with anxiety?

I hope adding my story will help get some more perspective into thinking like this. I'll put it in quotes so to keep the post clean.
Quote
I saw a family member post an article on a popular social networking site that said "30 things to stop doing to yourself." I at first felt I should have avoided the article in case it gave poor advice and made me feel bad. But I was also curious and anxious about avoiding it, because "what if it gives me a new perspective today?". I went ahead and clicked on it. Bad idea or...maybe good idea in retrospect?

A point in the article was "stop worrying" but then it mentions after "ask yourself if what you're worrying about will be important in 1, 5, 10 years?". That makes me think "worry only when it's important to you". I worry about all kinds of things, some of them I feel are important to me and I hope are still important to me in that amount of time, so this gets me thinking "are any of the things I worry about actually important?". So then THAT gets me feeling distressed but also interested in finding out whether this advice is actually any good for someone with overthinking, and anxiety issues this bad.

The specific triggering thought that I was told "may not be important" is related to my art career. Right now I have a project I have put off a lot for a paying client. They are very patient, they don't pressure me. Which might be the luckiest thing ever. However I pressure myself, because I feel guilty for taking so long when I don't think it should have. This whole thing gets me into a downward spiral about how taking so long to finish because of anxiety. Can make an actual everyday job as well as any plans of being in an art job in future extremely difficult. It feels like a mess!

Thanks for reading. Also I don't know if this actually qualifies under GAD, the description of GAD sounded like it does.
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Offline kconnors

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Hi,

I think what they are trying to say is that people should live in the moment  . . .not to say that you empty your life savings and buy a mink coat . . . but sometimes, and I have done this and still do it, I worry today about something that might happen or might not happen . . . for example: I need to update my kitchen . . .i haven't even started the process yet one day I started to worry that whoever I hire would not do a good job . . . all that did was make me anxious and stop me from going out to look at different flooring . . . I don't know whether they will do a good job or not; I don't even have a list of someone to do the work . . . so I wasted all day worrying, using up energy, until I realized that I was not really able to do anything about what might happen a year from now . . . .

There is some anxiousness in life . . . I have a friend if she does not plan and I mean in detail what she will have at every meal, she worries whether or not she has all the ingredients . . .so every week, she plans out the details of every meal and I mean every meal, makes sure she has everything in the house (just in case she gets snowed in --- and this is even in summertime when we have no snow), and then anticipates if each meal will be how she planned it . . . . now this is extreme but for some reason it centers around meal planning and nothing else . . .I strongly suspect that there is a reason . . .on my part, hey, I have food in the house, I eat whenever which drives her a bit up the wall . . .she worries about meal planning, I don't.

Over the years in dealing with my anxiety, I try to be mindful of what I am doing at any given moment . . .no, as I say, I don't run out and buy a Ferrari, but I eventually am able to manage worrying abut things too far off in the future . . . I used to want to plan everything in great detail, but I spent more time planning and not living . . . .so, I think the "stop worrying" is more: put your events in perspective . . . if something does not work out as planned, will it really impact your life? Sometimes sh*( happens, you deal with it, and you move on . . . and, as for stop worrying, well, don't focus on stopping the worry as much as letting it come into your mind, assess it, and dismiss it . . .don't know if this helps  . . .take care, kc
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Offline gesi1223

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Hi,

I think what they are trying to say is that people should live in the moment  . . .not to say that you empty your life savings and buy a mink coat . . . but sometimes, and I have done this and still do it, I worry today about something that might happen or might not happen . . . for example: I need to update my kitchen . . .i haven't even started the process yet one day I started to worry that whoever I hire would not do a good job . . . all that did was make me anxious and stop me from going out to look at different flooring . . . I don't know whether they will do a good job or not; I don't even have a list of someone to do the work . . . so I wasted all day worrying, using up energy, until I realized that I was not really able to do anything about what might happen a year from now . . . .

There is some anxiousness in life . . . I have a friend if she does not plan and I mean in detail what she will have at every meal, she worries whether or not she has all the ingredients . . .so every week, she plans out the details of every meal and I mean every meal, makes sure she has everything in the house (just in case she gets snowed in --- and this is even in summertime when we have no snow), and then anticipates if each meal will be how she planned it . . . . now this is extreme but for some reason it centers around meal planning and nothing else . . .I strongly suspect that there is a reason . . .on my part, hey, I have food in the house, I eat whenever which drives her a bit up the wall . . .she worries about meal planning, I don't.

Over the years in dealing with my anxiety, I try to be mindful of what I am doing at any given moment . . .no, as I say, I don't run out and buy a Ferrari, but I eventually am able to manage worrying abut things too far off in the future . . . I used to want to plan everything in great detail, but I spent more time planning and not living . . . .so, I think the "stop worrying" is more: put your events in perspective . . . if something does not work out as planned, will it really impact your life? Sometimes sh*( happens, you deal with it, and you move on . . . and, as for stop worrying, well, don't focus on stopping the worry as much as letting it come into your mind, assess it, and dismiss it . . .don't know if this helps  . . .take care, kc

"Living in the moment" makes more sense to me. Thank you for that. I have trouble doing it, but I think I am learning everyday how to keep that mindset at the forefront. When I do what I think is "living in the moment" I do feel better and less anxious so I like to think i'm doing something right. Though there's always that thought in the back of my head that I might not be. The "what ifs". I wonder if I will be able to keep those thoughts from taking over my days in the future?
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Offline kconnors

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From my own experience, it takes time to shed the what if scenarios and they do sometimes creep back in . . . for me, achieving the living in the moment effect is an issue of a process and not an event. . . . if I find that I am slipping into what ifs scenarios, that is usually an early warning sign that I need to refocus and perhaps spend a bit more energy in getting back to living in the moment . . .it's a choice, for me, whether I live life or whether I merely let life pass me by . . . in the first case, I feel that I am living in the moment, being mindful, and actually being active; in the second case, I feel that I am merely in waiting mode to see if the what if scenario is going to happen or not and that means that I am just letting life pass me by without engaging . . . .if you are wondering if you will be able to keep those thoughts from taking over your days in the future, then you are still in the what if mode so that is a bit of an early warning system that you need to refocus  . . .. I have come to understand, from my experiences, that we, as human beings, need to give ourselves a bit more credit than we do . . . .this is again sometimes difficult for those of us with anxiety but if we take baby steps and create a firm foundation to build on, then we are resilient and we can achieve what we want . . . but it is a conscious effort to engage in a process that becomes more like second nature the longer we do it . . .. it is not a quick process and there are speed bumps in the journey, but, at least for me, bit by bit I have more skills in managing the what if scenarios . . .I won't like. . . . it's not a perfect situation . . . I still get pulled back in but those times are fewer and farther between in both intensity and frequency . . . so, on the whole, I still feel that I have made progress . . .you'll be able to do the same thing . . .let us know how you are doing . . .take care, kc
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Offline tinam7

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The "in the moment" concept is what I try to reinforce every day (among other thoughts or mantras) during meditation.

The past will swallow me up and put me into despair, the future could be even worse, so the idea is to blank them out and focus on today. There is no permanent fix I've discovered, but meditation and exercise and CBT help.
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Offline gesi1223

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From my own experience, it takes time to shed the what if scenarios and they do sometimes creep back in . . . for me, achieving the living in the moment effect is an issue of a process and not an event. . . . if I find that I am slipping into what ifs scenarios, that is usually an early warning sign that I need to refocus and perhaps spend a bit more energy in getting back to living in the moment . . .it's a choice, for me, whether I live life or whether I merely let life pass me by . . . in the first case, I feel that I am living in the moment, being mindful, and actually being active; in the second case, I feel that I am merely in waiting mode to see if the what if scenario is going to happen or not and that means that I am just letting life pass me by without engaging . . . .if you are wondering if you will be able to keep those thoughts from taking over your days in the future, then you are still in the what if mode so that is a bit of an early warning system that you need to refocus  . . .. I have come to understand, from my experiences, that we, as human beings, need to give ourselves a bit more credit than we do . . . .this is again sometimes difficult for those of us with anxiety but if we take baby steps and create a firm foundation to build on, then we are resilient and we can achieve what we want . . . but it is a conscious effort to engage in a process that becomes more like second nature the longer we do it . . .. it is not a quick process and there are speed bumps in the journey, but, at least for me, bit by bit I have more skills in managing the what if scenarios . . .I won't like. . . . it's not a perfect situation . . . I still get pulled back in but those times are fewer and farther between in both intensity and frequency . . . so, on the whole, I still feel that I have made progress . . .you'll be able to do the same thing . . .let us know how you are doing . . .take care, kc

This post was a great help, thanks for the advice. "Refocusing" seems to work some when I get too deep into a downward spiral over things. I'm trying my best to stay present. It's difficult. I slip into worrying too easy, but I understand it's going to take a while to get my skill at refocusing better though. At the moment i'm awaiting a call back for healthcare so I can get therapy. It feels like it's taking forever, so it's a good opportunity to try and be present and patient.
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Offline kheim3

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One thing I saw just today is to try refocusing your anxiety into excitement about something instead of calming down.  It's easier to stay energized.  For example if you get nervous about meeting people like me, you'd find something you like about it (accomplishment, new friends, etc) and get jazzed about it.  I definitely know what you mean about "not worrying" making me worry more. Tbh I think it's just kind of crap advice that people without anxiety disorders give.  They don't really know what it's like not to have control over thoughts and feelings.  I'd just try to forget about it (easier said than done, I know) or try to think of it differently.  Like was said ^ they really mean living in the moment.  There's an awesome Bible quote that goes something along the lines of "Don't worry about tomorrow, today's worries are enough for today."  While it's easier said than done, it's definitely something to keep in mind.  If a deadline or something is a week away, just try to focus on what's in front of you instead of dwelling on it.  This should be easier during the day than at night, but guided meditations can help you sleep if you have problems with it like me.
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