From Worrier to Warrior

mark twain

I suspect a hint of satire in Mark Twain’s quote. However, it certainly strikes a chord.

Worry refers to the thoughts, images, and emotions that are negative in nature.

However, in many cases the act of worrying actually serves a purpose, whether it’s to solve or at least try to solve a particular problem or to try and ensure something bad doesn’t happen or to avoid a potential catastrophe. And although it’s unlikely anyone actually enjoys the process of worrying, it can often feel like a productive use of time as opposed to a waste of it.

Then of course there are those times when worrying actually pays off. In the midst of a fog of worry, may come a flash of inspiration or even genius! A way to solve or get around a perceived problem. Hey presto! The anxious thought served its purpose and you turn your attention to other more positive things.

But for some people worrying doesn’t stop there. In fact a problem solved, might immediately be replaced by another perhaps even bigger worry. Perhaps worrying that the problem solved just now, was solved too easily! And there we have the essence of a quintessential worrier.

The Chronic worrier is someone who feels the need to worry to prevent bad things happening. They might even declare themselves as being a “Born Worrier” suggesting that the affliction was inherited or is in their DNA. Needless to say no one is born a worrier. Anxiety is a learned behaviour. Chronic worriers often fear that worrying itself could result in them falling ill mentally, physically or even both. Yet the chronic worrier continues to worry. The chronic worrier will have a tendency to inflate the probability that something bad is going to happen, and this tendency means that they generate more potential “What if’s?” than non-worriers.

According to some studies this endless cycle of worrying seems to be caused by a psychological process called heuristics. In the field of psychology (of which I am an ardent fan and student) heuristics are simple, efficient rules which people often use to form judgments and make decisions. They are mental shortcuts that usually involve focusing on one aspect of a complex problem and ignoring others. (Definition of heuristics – Source: Wikipedia)

That is, the more reasons you can think of for something possibly happening, the more likely you think it will happen. Catastrophic worrying is a good example of this, where a worrier will think through all the possible chains of events associated with a worry, and so generate lots of reasons why they think it might happen – this serves to convince the worrier that it will indeed happen.

It’s not to say that worriers don’t have good problem-solving skills in fact their problem-solving skills appear to be as good as anyone else’s –  the problem may simply be that they have low confidence in their ability to solve problems. So worriers have problems deciding on solutions to problems, and even greater difficulty putting possible solutions into practice.

Chronic worrying can affect daily life to the extent that it interferes with appetite, lifestyle, relationships, sleep, and job performance. Chronic worriers may become so anxious that they seek relief in harmful habits such as overeating, smoking, drugs or alcohol.

It is well known that worry, anxiety and stress are major causes of both physical and mental illness resulting in conditions such as panic attacks, depression, strokes and heart attacks.

How can hypnotherapy help?

In the hands of a well trained therapist, hypnotherapy enables you to focus intently on a specific problem and its resolution while maintaining a comfortable state of physical relaxation. In this state of deep relaxation, clients are able to regain control over their body’s physical response to stress rather than the body going into its default mode of high alert. Clients find their new response to stress enables them to think clearly, deal with situations calmly and effectively and make precise and defined decisions.

Gail Marra D.Hyp MNCH (Acc) LAPHP is a GHR registered Clinical Hypnotherapist accredited by the National Council for Hypnotherapy, Association for Professional Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, National Register of Psychotherapists and Counsellors and the Complimentary and Natural Healthcare Council

10 Harley Street, London W1G 9PF      Tel: 020 7873 2051

The Chilston Clinic, Royal Tunbridge Wells TN4 8RA      Tel: 01892 513535


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