Stress Awareness Month – What Is Worry?

Apr 13, 2023 | Body, Health, Nutrition, Skin Care

In this article I will provide an overview of what worry is, how it can manifest into deeper concerns and how it can affect us emotionally and physically.

I will provide tools to help you to make positive changes, as well as to overcome negative, worried emotions and to feel a better version of yourself.

I will help you feel the worries of the day go away.

What Is Worry?

Worry is that feeling of unease that occurs when your thoughts are focused on current difficulties in your life or potential problems that have not yet actually occurred.

Worry is a common overwhelming emotion that comes up when we feel uncertain about the future. It removes us from being in the present moment.

We all have feelings of worry sometimes. These can be normal responses to certain situations, such as worry about a work commitment, about the kids, or paying the bills. You might even worry about the way you look as you compare yourself to thousands of idealised images of other people as you scroll through the screens of social media platforms. It is horrifying that they have created a obscuring lens to illustrate a perceived beauty, glamour, and luxurious lifestyle. But remind yourself, it’s simply not real.

A little worry can be motivating, constructive and help to achieve our goals. Too much worry can be destructive, draining and damaging to us emotionally and physically.

Worry can serve as a way to avoid facing the issue or difficulty head on. Worrying and anticipating can exasperate the situation more than if you just took care of the issue in the first place.

When we don’t manage worry it can cause thought patterns that are very difficult.

It is without doubt that our society exists in a worried world – rising living costs and world conflicts, global environmental concerns, the list goes on, all heightened by being so connected to the world-wide web.  Bombardment from the media and the ping of notifications are relentless. What is important to recognise is that you can’t predict certain situations in life, they are simply out of your control. What we can do is aim to manage our own thoughts, as worrying will not help oneself or anyone else.

There is not one person in the world who has not experienced worry and fear, such as during the recent world pandemic.

As hard as it might seem, managing your worried thoughts and changing them into positive emotions is imperative before they manifest into other deeper related issues and cause prolonged suffering.

Allowing your worried thoughts to ruminate can progress into chronic worry. Chronic worry can lead to stress, anxiety, feelings of fear, dread, and general unease that darkens your whole life.


What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Worry?

  1. Feeling nervous, irritable, tense
  2. Rapid heart rate
  3. Digestive complaints – nausea
  4. Headaches
  5. Irregular breathing
  6. Tense neck, shoulder, chest, jaw pain
  7. Compromised decision making
  8. Sleep issues
  9. Difficulties concentrating
  10. Exhaustion – fatigue
  11. Compromised immune system
  12. Inflammatory skin ailments

If you are plagued by exaggerated worry you may also experience other related issues, including anxiety related conditions and disorders such as Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Panic Attacks, Avoidance Behaviours, OCD and Post Traumatic Stress.

Am I Worrying Too Much?

Are Your Negative Thoughts Having A Negative Impact On Your Life?

To acknowledge whether you are over-worrying can be a daunting prospect. Becoming aware can be the first great step to making some changes.

Here are a few questions to help you assess where you are.

Are you worrying too much?

Answer these simple Yes / No questions below:

  1. Do you have worrying thoughts whirling endlessly in your mind?
  2. Do you worry about things that you have no control over?
  3. Do you feel so worried that emotion makes you more worried?
  4. Is worrying actually helping you?
  5. Have you experiencing worried emotions longer than 12 weeks?
  6. Do you feel unease, tension, irritable, nervousness?
  7. Do you experience rapid heart rate, irregular, shallow breath
  8. Do you have tight neck, shoulder and chest?
  9. Do you procrastinate, avoid, put things off?
  10. Is your worrying affecting other areas of your life?

If you answer Yes to over 5 of these questions you would greatly benefit from incorporating some changes to your life.

How Can I Stop Worrying About Everything?

Take control of your inner turmoil of worry and fear, set an action plan to de-sensitise these emotions.

Schedule your worry time, maybe allow 15 minutes a day when you know you will be free of daily demands, find a quiet space and assess the worried thoughts. As the worried thoughts enter your mind during the day allow yourself to say it’s ok, I’ll deal with them later in my worried time.

Write down your worried thoughts, list the most pressing at the top and the least at the bottom. Include the worries that you cannot control at the very end.

Apply self-help supportive tools to cultivate your inner resources. I have provided a list below, which we discuss later.

Get support, talk to a trusted friend or family member. A professional therapist might be a great way for you to work through your worried state of mind. It is common place to take this route just as it is to use a sports therapist to work the physical body to a healthier state.

Turn your thoughts around.

Chronic worrying is a mental habit that can be broken by taking small positive steps each day.

It is possible to re-wire your brain to a calm state and look at life from a more balanced, less fearful perspective.

Eliminating worry from your life altogether is pretty impossible and actually impractical since, as mentioned before, we do need some worry to help motivate us to achieve our goals.

Tools To Stop Worrying

Apply healthy supportive tools to cultivate your internal resources in order to combat that inner chatter of worry and distorted emotions.
Here are some ideas that might work for you.

‘The Self’
People often say ‘I’m not feeling myself’ when they are in a negative emotional or physical state.

Emotionally it is important to nurture the true essence of ‘the self’. It is equally important to nurture the physical state through nutrition, movement and relaxation techniques.

We are born with our true essence of ‘the self’. As a child we’re free from the everyday burdens that we experience as we mature.

Take a moment to notice where you may need to practice on ‘the self’. It will cultivate freedom to be who you really are and desire to be. It will reinforce coping mechanisms to deal with the niggling worries that hinder your daily life.
Tap into the true essence of ‘the self’ characteristics throughout your day.

  1. Calm
  2. Curiosity
  3. Compassion
  4. Creativity
  5. Confidence
  6. Courage
  7. Connectiveness
  8. Clarity

How To Calm Worrying Thoughts

To take time out to switch off is important, especially during very demanding and busy times of life. Being calm greatly improves your wellbeing by regulating the parasympathetic nervous system, and reducing the activity of stress hormones.

Exercise To Stop Worrying
Exercise increases levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain, which in turn decreases the body’s elevated hormonal and immune responses to stress, reducing the risk of stress and fear related symptoms as well as improving a sense of calm as you connect with being current in the moment.

Choose a type of exercise you enjoy. This will encourage you to stay with it and reap the benefits.

Calming Breathing Techniques
When the body is undergoing a worrying, fearful emotional attack, the fight or flight response is activated. The ‘sympathetic nervous system’ is stimulated and physiological changes occur to the breath, which becomes short, shallow and rapid. To come out of this state and into the ‘parasympathetic nervous system’ a calm, safe state, a simple calming breathing technique is a quick, affective, and instant tool.

Prolonged worry contributes to an irregular breathing pattern. Take moments during your day to bring your attention to your breath. Allow yourself to take slow, long, deep breaths, harmoniously and rhythmically, in and out through the nose, anytime, anywhere!

I’m happy to share my go to quick fix!

Breath through the nose:

Inhale slowly, deeply and quietly as you say to yourself ‘Be Kind’

Exhale slowly, gently and quietly as you say to yourself ‘Still Your Mind’.

Longer exhalations enhance relaxation, and are therefore calming.

Repeat several times.

Other Tips To Calm Yourself From Worrying

Chose an activity you really enjoy; these are great ways to promote calm and contentment, and great tools to use when you want to distract your whirling worried mind.

A gentle walk in a park, a cycle ride, horse riding, connecting to nature. Maybe just being at home doing house chores, cooking, organising your space, gardening, curled up with a cuppa reading a book, listening to music, watching a movie, being creative, taking a quick nap, or connecting with friends and family.

Yoga, calming breathwork, mindfulness and meditation practices connect body and mind to enable you to be in the present moment, as well as promote a calm state where healing can be achieved.

Another quick and easy way to connect yourself into the present moment is to inhale essential oils such as lavender, neroli, melissa, petitgrain to promote an instant calm mind. Keep a handy roll on or inhaler with you at all times.

Systemic treatments such as a pressure point facial, massage, acupuncture or reiki therapy provide a holistic approach to managing worry, promoting equilibrium for you.

Be positive. Laugh more. Go easy on yourself.

How To Stop Worrying & Sleep At Night

Over worrying affects sleep quality. Sleep deprivation leaves you feeling exhausted the next morning, exacerbating the negative worries and emotions. If worries and sleep are not managed, it’s inevitable that the cycle goes around and around day by day, month by month, and year by year. It’s exhausting just thinking about it!

Step off the hamster wheel of worry, apply simple steps before bed.

Listen to calming music or sleep aid meditation before going to bed. Slow, restful Yoga types are great calming techniques and excellent sleep enhancers, as is a calming breath practice.

Drink a calming herbal tea such as chamomile, valerian or a hot milky drink.

Avoid eating too late as this could disrupt digestion, thus sleep.

Take time out from digital devices.

Avoid engaging with your digital devices several hours prior to sleeping.

Keep digital devices out of the bedroom when you go to bed.

It might be useful to take a sleep enhancing supplement such as Viridian’s Magnesium,

Saffron, Valerian, or L-Theanine & Lemon Balm, Tryptophan a few hours before going to bed.

Aim for 8 hours sleep each night.

    Can Diet Help Worry?

    It is imperative to a follow a healthy, balanced diet to support overall health. Include vegetables and fruits with a variety of colours each day.  Incorporate foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains to include; oatmeal, quinoa, wholegrain breads and cereals. Carbohydrates can increase the amount of serotonin in your brain, which has a calming effect.

    Include a selection of nuts and seeds, such nuts and seeds provide a good source of protein, healthy fats, fibres, vitamins and minerals like copper, zinc, vitamin A, C and E, which contribute to mood wellbeing.

    Eat oily fish such as salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines. Fish oil is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids.  It can serve to regulate better mood. Supplements are an alternative option especially if following a vegan diet.

    Keep hydrated. Every cell in our body and brain needs water to function well. Drink water, even add fresh slices of lemon, lime or cucumber, or a natural botanical cordial. Herbal tea’s such as chamomile, valerian is particular known for calming

    Avoid sugar, refined carbohydrates and processed foods.

    Personal experiences via Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) and Psychotherapy
    500 hour Yoga Teacher training journey

    ‘How To Stop Worrying and Find Unlimited Happiness’ – By Alexender W Allen
    ‘Internal Family systems Therapy’ – By Richard C Schwartz
    ‘The Body Keeps The Score’ – By Bressel A Van Der Kolk
    ‘The Breath’ – By James Nestor

    Author: Angela Taffinder the founder of Emporium Treatment Clinic. A practising Aesthetician for 35+ years, holistic and wellbeing advocate and yoga instructor.

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