The way you manage your day-to-day anxieties can have a big impact on your life. Take our quick quiz to find your worry personality and learn how to live stress-free
Studies show that 38% of people worry every day, and many of those people describe themselves as chronic worriers, says psychology expert dr robert l. leahy, author of The Worry Cure (penguin random House). the problem starts, he says, when you worry too much, worry about things you can’t fix, or you don’t deal with your worries effectively. But you can change your anxiety patterns – take our personality quiz to find out how.
Take Our Quick Quiz To Find Your Worry Personality And Learn How To Live Stress-Free Photo Gallery
1 Your boss says she wants to have a meeting with you later in the week. How do you react to the news?
a) you immediately assume you’ve done something wrong and fret about it for the next few days.
b) you put it out of your mind by going for drinks with colleagues that night.
c) you get on with your work, but notice yourself worrying about the meeting when you’re tired.
d) you think, ‘great! i must be getting a pay increase.’
2 Your friend’s really anxious about something – how do you deal with her?
a) you feel a bit impatient: she’s clearly stressing about something that’s not likely to happen.
b) empathise with how anxious she is.
c) try to shut out your own worries while you try to calm her.
d) change the subject.
4 Are you good at making time to de-stress when you’re going through a particularly stressful time?
a) no – you always have something to worry about.
b) yes, although the worries are still there waiting for you afterwards.
c) no. you find it really hard to keep perspective when you’re under a lot of pressure.
d) yes, very good – nothing in life is worth too much stress.
5 In general, how would you describe your attitude to worry?
a) you don’t believe in spending much time on it, but it tends to get the better of you.
b) it’s something you try to ignore.
c) you can’t help it – the more you try to stress less, the more you fret.
d) it’s a total waste of time and never helps anyone.
You worry irrationally and seek constant internal reassurance. For example, you look symptoms up on the internet to find the worst case scenario if you feel unwell. Obsessive worriers can’t handle uncertainty, their anxiety is a search for guarantees that don’t exist (such as you’ll never get ill). your goal To learn to let go and accept the uncertainty of life. your psych fiX ‘Ironically, thinking about a worry can train you to tolerate uncertainty,’ says Dr Leahy. ‘If you are worried about your health, repeat often, “It’s always possible that I could become ill.” When you say it over again, it’ll lose its impact and lessen its effect on you.’ your life fiX Walking reduces anxiety, so why not join a walking group?
Instead of facing up to things, you tend to shove them to the back of your mind and distract yourself with other activities, from shopping to socialising. This means you never learn healthier ways to deal with worry. your goal To learn that while worry isn’t pleasant, you can cope with it. your psych fiX ‘Try to do things you don’t want to do, such as going to the gym when you’re tired,’ says Dr Leahy. ‘Then write down how uncomfortable you felt when you did these things, and how you felt about yourself afterwards – for example, more in control. The more you learn that discomfort can be productive, the more you’ll stop avoiding it.’ your life fiX Learn to ‘be’ with your thoughts. Try switching off your phone and meditating on something positive.
The Background Fretter
You know worrying too much makes no sense at all. But you find it hard to switch off, particularly when you’re stressed. You often wake up feeling anxious in the middle of the night. That can drain your energy and make it harder to deal with what’s going on. your goal Learn to recognise your worries and deal with them head-on. your psych fiX Limit yourself to 20 minutes each day to think through whatever’s bothering you and how you could deal with it. ‘Once you start to deal with the source of worry, you feel more in control, which can help you feel better,’ says stress expert Professor Cary Cooper. your life fiX Regular massages – they are brilliant for releasing stored-up stress and tension.
You refuse to engage with worry. This means you can focus your energy on more worthwhile things. But some worry is useful – it can teach you to think before you act and also plan for unexpected events. your goal understand worry can have a purpose and learn to listen to it. your psych fiX Next time a friend shares a worry, listen to them and try to understand. Ask how they are coping with those feelings. When you tune into someone else’s worry it can make it easier for you to be aware of your own. your life fiX Take up yoga to slow yourself down.
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