It is in our human nature to occasionally worry about things, e.g. whether the next bus will come on time so that we arrive punctually for our appointment, whether we will be able to write our piece of coursework by a given deadline or whether our guests will enjoy the Christmas drink get-together that we organised. These worries help us to do the best we can in our lives. They come and go, like a single small wave on an otherwise calm sea.
However, some people’s relationship to worries is a lot more intense and constant and has become an all-encompassing part of everyday life. People with Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD) find themselves worrying about everything and anything almost every day over many months. They find themselves imagining the worst-case scenario to any given situation.
For example, when a manager calls them in for an urgent meeting they might immediately worry that they have done something seriously wrong and will lose their job. Or when a friend does not show up in time for a joint dinner, they might immediately worry that the friend must have been involved in an accident. These worries become uncontrollable and irrefutable.
When one worry finally dissipates, another usually appears. It is like a rough sea, where one wave is immediately followed by the next with no end in sight. This is exhausting. It causes restlessness and tension. GAD makes it hard, if not impossible, to relax or concentrate. Sleep can also be particularly difficult, as the mind remains a rough sea that will just not calm down.
Here are some tips on how to cope with the above described difficulties, commonly described as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD).
Tip #1 Draw on the people you trust most for support
It can be very helpful to share your distressing worries with a trusted someone who you know will not exacerbate your worries, but who will show empathy and understanding, while also reassuring you that your worries will not become reality.
Tip #2 Relaxation techniques
Taking conscious control of your breathing (slowly breathing in and out) and/or focussing your mind on the here and now and what you are experiencing through your senses (sight, touch, smell) can help you calm down.
Tip #3 Exercise
Engaging in movement is a great way to battle the constant stream of worries. It helps reduce the tension that might have built up and gives you that feel-good boost that you need.