Worry is a common experience for everyone. It serves a function to identify a problem in the future so that you come up with a solution to solve it. This can help make the future more predictable and under our control: to reduce potential anxiety.
Worry can also serve as a generator of more anxiety though. If we identify a problem but do not focus on a solution, this can cause symptoms of anxiety to increase. This basically becomes a pattern of problem-solving thinking without the solving part. Additionally, when people worry, they have a tendency to get caught up in their thoughts. This causes a cycle of repetitive feelings of anxiety. Because of this, people try to push worry thoughts away. Unfortunately, this naturally brings to mind the very thoughts that the person is trying to avoid.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
One of the most useful strategies to deal with worry thoughts involves mindfulness. This involves noticing-observing thoughts without reacting or acting upon them. A concept utilized in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) related to this practice is called having a ‘teflon mind’. Teflon coating prevents food from getting stuck on pans/skillets and a teflon mind promotes having thoughts slide off your mind in a similar fashion. Ideally, worry thoughts would pass through an individual’s mind without sticking. Some ways to do this would be to visualize your thoughts as if they were on a conveyor belt or simply developing a thought-labeling system.
Mindfulness is a topic incorporated in the DBT group provided at Specialized Therapy Associates. Should you have any interest in this group, please call 201-488-6678 for details.