Posted 20 hours ago

The Worry Trick: How Your Brain Tricks You into Expecting the Worst and What You Can Do About It

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You only ever think “what if” when everything’s fine. The “what if” clause isn’t about self-protection. It doesn’t save you, or stop anything. It means “let’s pretend”. Let’s pretend I’m in a car accident. Moreover, when you interact with the external world, you get more involved with realistic rules of thumb. When you’re in your head, by contrast, you can imagine anything. This is why anticipatory worry is almost always worse than anything that actually happens in real life—there are no rules in your head, anything seems possible! In the external world, the rules of reality apply.” Types of Worry: Carbonell identifies two types of worry: “prophesying” and “torturing.” Prophesying worry involves predicting negative outcomes, while torturing worry involves dwelling on the potential negative outcomes. The book provides practical strategies for dealing with both types of worry.

This book taught me that the most important thing to do with worry is to break the cycle. And the best approach to take is a counter-intuitive one, which is why many people continue to struggle with worry. The way to solve it is not how you would think! Carbonell helps the reader learn these less-obvious approaches. Try this experiment. Write out one of your worries, in its most detailed, terrifying form. Keep it at around 25 words. Set aside 25 of those Tic Tacs that you bought to count your worries.If you find yourself forgetting to breathe properly, use common signals from the world around you as reminders – a car horn or a phone notification, for example. If you’re suffering from chronic worry, this may be a pretty stressful experience. Pay attention to how upsetting the worry is at the last repetition compared to the first. You will notice that it gets easier. To say that this book has changed my life would be too much, but it certainly did show me new horizons when dealing with my own anxieties. And it gave me a push to be braver to read more about this topic, which a year ago would have been a huge trigger for me.

The book provides a comprehensive understanding of the psychological and neurological mechanisms underlying worry and anxiety. Here’s how you deal with this thinly-veiled metaphor for worry: Try humoring him. Nod along, tell him he’s absolutely right. You don’t have to actually believe the nonsense he’s saying, you’re just trying to have a peaceful meal. It’s best if you can do this out loud while watching yourself in front of a mirror. You might feel silly, but seeing and hearing yourself takes it out of your head and lets you get a more realistic perspective. It’s also helpful learning to postpone your worry to a time when it’s less inconvenient.

If you avoid the object of your worries, you will become more afraid of them. What you do counts for much more than what you think.” If you’re like a large proportion of people, worry is a problem. You can’t stop it, you can’t control it, and no matter how many times you’re told to “just stop worrying,” it won’t go away. It’s a losing battle. It may surprise you to hear that what you worry about, the specific content of your worrisome thoughts, isn't usually all that important. What's most important is how you relate to your worrisome thoughts, whatever their content may be.”

If you find yourself arguing with yourself, there's one thing you can count on – you're not going to win this argument.” This book started out slow. I saw myself in many of the examples the author gave of his past clients and their worries. The first half just didn't do it for me. While some of the strategies he listed may help others, I found most of what he was suggesting quite boring, having almost DNF'ed the book. But I pushed through and I was glad I did. By the time I read through the second half I had highlighted and noted so many passages I might as well have just made a huge note of the whole book. I couldn't put it down because everything he said described me so well and all of the suggestions he gave to counter the anxious thoughts and chronic worries I could see myself doing. Once I had finished I felt relieved that someone finally understood some of the toxic thought processes I was trapped in.How about you’re driving along and you realize you accidentally ran a red light? A car accident definitely could happen at this stage, but you’re still not thinking “What if I have a car accident?” Your instincts are taking over, and you’re trying to stop that accident happening. Kate F. Hays, PhD, CPsych, CC-AASP, founder of The Performing Edge in Toronto, ON, Canada; and past president of the Society for Sport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology

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