Psychologist Dr Eddie Murphy writes on ‘Worry’

Worry is an activity that you yourself can change
Most people have worries. It’s when you worry all the time your quality of life suffers. Some people say they are born worriers. Many people have their favourite worries Let’s look at a few!

Most people have worries. It’s when you worry all the time your quality of life suffers. Some people say they are born worriers. Many people have their favourite worries Let’s look at a few!

Death & Dying Death is the biggest fear of all unlike fear of snakes, spiders, heights, people, or closed-in spaces. Unless you believe in the afterlife, there is no more that can be done once you pass on. But there’s even a silver lining in that: It reminds us to do what we can while we can! It’s not as easy to wipe away fear of the dying process.

But what about putting off dying? Your best shot is to follow the standard advice: Keep your weight and stress down, eat mainly veggies and fruit, exercise, and don’t smoke.

Illness Many people worry about illness and getting sick. When we are concerned about it all the time itcan be a condition called ‘health anxiety’. Treatment for anxiety difficulty is supported by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy.

People won’t like you Many adults still suffer from the teenager’s core worry:

“Do people like me?” Many people are concerned about what others think... perhaps that they have nothing to say, are “thick”, or an embarrassment.

Essentially its always a negative evaluation. Even if they are, you can only control what you do, not others.

Public speaking Fear of public speaking is very common particularly if you have to speak at a wedding, funeral service or a place where you are the centre of attention.

Top Tips

• Don’t memorize your talk. Plan it out but then reduce it to an outline that fits onto three points. Just talk, connecting with your audience.

• Be authentic. Speak the truth in your conversational style, a little more slowly.

• Know that mistakes are no big deal. People will remember the overallimpression. If you are prepared and authentic, it’ll be okay, even if you screw-up some.

• Perspective. Every week, millions of words are spoken and yours will soon be forgotten.

The main condition associated with worrying is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is a general, long-lasting worry about nothing specific.

Sufferers imagine only the worst outcomes (and all possible worst case scenarios), believing they won’t be able to cope when all these terrible things ‘do’ happen.

However, as in all anxiety, we tend to over-estimate the danger, and under-estimate our ability to cope. ‘Intolerance of uncertainty’ means that the person with GAD will worry about an imagined feared event as long as there is even the slightest risk of it happening.

People with GAD worry about the worry - they have negative beliefs about worry...for instance that they might lose all control, that it will drive them crazy.

But they also believe that it is beneficial to worry, that it helps to keep them (and others) safe, and that it can help them cope because they can be better prepared for all the possible worst case scenarios.

Studies of the genetics of GAD suggest that there is an inherited component, but it is quite likely that the inherited component is nonspecific. That is, heredity marginally increases your risk of experiencing anxiety or developing an anxiety disorder, but your life experiences will determine how this increased risk for anxiety might be manifested.

Remember, worrying is not written into your genes, and you are not a ‘born worrier’, so worrying is an activity that you yourself can change.

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