Depression - How to Stop Worrying
Most people with depression find that worrying comes as part of the package. The association between anxiety and depression is well known and whilst some anxiety can be quite beneficial and even protective, constant worry leads to a sense of increased vulnerability. Worrying also has the opposite effect of what people feel it might achieve. People worry because they play out a negative scenario in their mind over and over again. It's as though keeping the issue alive will provide a sense of control over it. The reality is that worrying rarely if ever makes a difference to an outcome, except possibly in a negative sense.
Not allowing ourselves to get caught up in a cycle of worry requires the deployment of a few personal strategies. I've previously suggested five mental strategies to ease depression.
In this post I'm extending the basic concept in order to focus on worrying. The first of the personal strategies I want to mention involves challenging your pattern of worry. When people worry they inevitably predict the worst of possible outcomes. In life it's pretty rare that situations lead to dire outcomes. The anticipation of a bad outcome however is far more common and much worse than the reality. So a personal strategy is to think back to situations that once worried you and to remind yourself of the actual outcome. A word of caution. It may be very tempting to cast your mind back to something that went sour as a way of undermining the suggested strategy. Try to keep things in perspective. Everyone can think of a situation or event that turned out badly. The situations that turn out just fine are far more common.
There is a difference between ruminating and preparing yourself for a situation by assessing what might be required. Most people have taken an exam, sat in an interview, or taken a driving test. They know the importance of learning and preparing ahead of time. Any situation has potential difficulties but this doesn't mean you have to worry about them. A better personal strategy might be to consider the most obvious problems and then to work out possible solutions. If you know that worrying triggers physical changes in you (e.g. sweating, trembling, shaky voice) then use relaxation techniques as a way to stay calm.
Worrying is a manifestation of negative thinking and there is evidence that negative thinking can make people prone to relapse. Because negative thinking can become easily entrenched learning to recognize and then challenge it requires a big effort. Making an effort to maintain a balanced perspective on life and avoiding extremes of thinking is highly beneficial. You may also find that enlisting the help of a cognitive psychologist to work with you and support you in this endeavor pays good dividends.