Worry Resource - Page 3



Living with worry and anxiety amidst global uncertainty
What is worry?
Human beings have the amazing ability to think about future events. 'Thinking ahead’
means that we can anticipate obstacles or problems, and gives us the opportunity to
plan solutions. When it helps us to achieve our goals, ‘thinking ahead’ can be helpful.
For example, hand washing and social distancing are helpful things that we can decide
to do in order to prevent the spread of the virus. However, worrying is a way of 'thinking
ahead' that often leaves us feeling anxious or apprehensive. When we worry excessively,
we often think about worst case scenarios and feel that we won't be able to cope.
What does worry feel like?
When we worry it can feel like a chain of thoughts and images, which can progress in
increasingly catastrophic and unlikely directions. Some people experience worry as uncontrollable – it seems to take on a life of its own. It is natural that many of us may have
recently noticed ourselves thinking about worst-case scenarios. The example below illustrates how worries can escalate quickly even from something relatively minor. Have
you noticed any thoughts like this? (confession: we both have!)
I have a
headache
What if it is
coronavirus?
worry
chain
Maybe I passed it on
to everyone at
work yesterday
Everyone will
pass it on and
die
Imagining an apocalypse
and losing everyone who
I know and love
Worry isn’t just in our heads. When it becomes excessive we feel it as anxiety in our
bodies too. Physical symptoms of worry and anxiety include:
• Muscle tension or aches and pains.
• Restlessness and an inability to relax.
• Difficulty concentrating.
• Difficulty sleeping.
• Feeling easily fatigued.
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