Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

Science says these small tricks can help stop you from worrying

iStock-491747470.jpg

No one could blame you if the events of 2017 so far have caused you to worry slightly more than usual.

From sexism to discrimination, and fake news to pretty much anything Donald Trump does, even a casual glance at the headlines on your social media feed can be anxiety-inducing.

So it seems timely that a new study looking at the root causes of worry, and the ways in which we can try and stop it in its tracks, has just been published in the journal Biological Psychology.

worry

To learn how to stop worrying, you first need to establish what kind of worrier you are: according to the study’s authors, Graham Davey and Frances Meeten from the University of Sussex. there is a difference between normal and pathological worriers.

For a normal worrier, the train of anxious thoughts will eventually go away on its own, once the worry has served its “purpose”.

And, surprisingly, all worry has a purpose, with the authors writing that worrying can “solve perceived problems of daily living, as an attempt to repair negative mood, or as a means to try and ensure that ‘bad’ things do not happen or to avoid future catastrophes”.


Read more: Why this depression sufferer’s bedroom is going viral


However, pathological worriers have a more “perfectionist approach” to worrying, as described by researcher Christian Jarrett, and this can lead them to obsessively over-analyse a situation.

Thankfully, there is a brilliantly simple solution to this kind of worrying: you need to force yourself to move on from the negative thoughts.

“Thinking about the idea of stopping worrying when you’ve had enough of it, rather than when the worrying is somehow ‘finished’ or ‘complete,’ could be beneficial,” writes Jarrett.

worry

Of course, this can be easier said than done, and those stuck in a cycle of worrying might want to try a more literal approach: writing it down.


Read more: Illustrator perfectly captures the everyday anxieties we all deal with


Psychologist Sian Beilock, who works at the University of Chicago, told The Wall Street Journal that one way to stop “paralysis by analysis” was to spend a few minutes writing down our worries and getting them out of our minds and onto paper instead.

So, next time you find your thoughts shuttling down a route of worry, try putting pen to paper – it might just do the trick.

More

The deadly secret hidden within that creepy Game of Thrones hug

Spoilers are coming…

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

Why it’s totally fine if you don’t have a ‘work wife’

Having friends at work is nice – but it’s not the be all and end all

by Moya Crockett
18 Aug 2017

Meteorologist’s epic response to troll who called her “disgusting”

“Enough is enough.”

by Sarah Biddlecombe
18 Aug 2017

Acts of love, humanity and solidarity following the Barcelona attack

In the darkness, there is light.

by Moya Crockett
18 Aug 2017

How you can help those caught up in the Barcelona attack

The ways you can support the victims, survivors and investigation

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

People are furious about Trump’s response to the Barcelona attack

The world is sick of his double-standard on terrorism

by Kayleigh Dray
18 Aug 2017

Ryan Phillipe on how he tackles depression

“I’m thinking about how to focus and steady myself”

by Susan Devaney
17 Aug 2017

Are black girls being forced to grow up too fast?

A study has shown that black girls as young as five are seen as more adult than their white peers

by Kemi Alemoru
17 Aug 2017

Teen receives sickening messages after asking for career advice

This businessman's response was shocking

by Sarah Biddlecombe
17 Aug 2017

We want everything from this new high-street Disney collaboration

Seriously magical

by Megan Murray
17 Aug 2017