Worry, that sense of insecurity, unease, and fear over what negative events may happen – as unrealistic as these concerns may be – is one of the most unpleasant emotions that you can experience as a human being. It is also one of the most common. While everyone has worried at some point, many people suffer from chronic worrying in the form of anxiety. In Australia alone, 2 million people will suffer from anxiety in any one year.
If you worry often, you’re far from alone. In fact, it may comfort you to know that many of us tend to worry about the same issues. All of those anxieties and stressors that may plague your life also affect a huge chunk of the rest of the world as well.
What are our common worries as human beings? More importantly, what can be done about them?
Worries We All Share
Money and the future
Whether it’s debt; worrying you won’t be able to cover all your bills next month; or fear about your financial security in the future – when you have kids or when you retire – financial insecurity is a major cause of stress. David Richards, a mental health services research professor at the University of Exeter in the UK points out that financial worries can take a heavy toll on your mental health, causing serious anxiety and impacting self-esteem.
But with this being the number one most common worry, rest assured that almost everyone you know is in the same boat as you, and many are probably even worse off than you. The best thing you can do to assuage financial worries is to get a good handle on your actual financial situation and make a solid plan and budget. Often times, when you crunch the numbers and get a plan in place, the problem isn’t as big as we’ve built it up in our minds.
Worry about losing your job? Many people experience fears over redundancy, says the Victoria Government’s Better Health Channel. This stress gets even worse as pressures at work increase, causing people to feel as if their job is at risk if they do not perform to a certain standard, not to mention the external pressures when the economy slows and the job market becomes even more competitive.
Again, a pragmatic approach can work wonders in alleviating work related anxiety. Build strong lines of communication between you and your employer. Ensure you know exactly what is expected of you and request regular (annual or six monthly) performance appraisals to allow you to outline your successes and get constructive pointers on areas for improvement.
About half of both men and women in Australia worry about their personal relationships, according to the ‘What worries Australia – National Worry Survey’ from Macquarie University. Those who are single worry about finding a partner, while for those in a relationship, it is common to worry about how secure the bond is or where the relationship is going. And it’s not only romantic relationships that can put a strain on the psyche. Strained relationships with family, children, colleagues and friends can also weigh heavily on your mind.
Communication is key to solving relationship problems too. Sharing your worries with a trusted third party can take some of the weight off, but trying to communicate more effectively with those you are in a strained relationship with is the most important way you can solve these worries. Relationship counselling can be a huge help in mediating a situation, and it’s not just reserved for romantic relationships – it can help in mediating issues with family and friends too.
Many people worry about their health, or the health of a loved one. To the point that this encourages you to eat a healthy diet and exercise, a little worry can be a good thing. But if it’s causing severe anxiety and mental turmoil then it is not doing you any good. Health anxiety – worrying about developing a serious disease or health condition – is a very real problem for many people, which can negatively impact other areas of life.
It’s difficult to do, but accepting one’s mortality is an important part of life. Only by accepting that life is fleeting can you enjoy the time you do have on earth. All you can do is try your best to live a healthy life, and accept that the rest is out of your control.
How to Cope – and Stop Worrying
Of course a certain level of worry is normal in everyone’s life – we all worry about these common things – but when worrying becomes anxiety it isn’t just uncomfortable, it can impact our mental and physical well-being, and it can get worse if we don’t do anything about it.
There are coping strategies that can help reduce the sense of anxiety and insecurity about life. Seeing a clinical psychologist for anxiety counselling can help you talk through your worries and learn coping techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and mindfulness to help release overwhelming feelings and regain a sense of calm. The more these techniques are practised, the easier it becomes to perceive problems as smaller and more manageable.
If worrying is a problem that you feel you cannot control, it is important to seek professional help. There is no reason to let it run your life. A clinical psychologist can help you overcome anxiety and reach a point where you can embrace life once again. Contact us today to arrange an appointment.