One of the key pieces of advice I gathered from my first session of CBT for worrying was to write down your worries when they arise, and postpone the thoughts until later on in the day. By writing down the things you are worried about, not only do you become more aware of what worries you, but you also start to understand how to categorise them into ‘Practical Worries’ and ‘Hypothetical Worries’.
It got me thinking about the things that worry me all the time; those matters I just can’t seem to remove from my head. I thought I would list out the worries I have in my head today, and see if I can see how much of the worrying I do is hypothetical, and I hope this advice helps anyone else who is going through this too.
- Why am I feeling restless?
- Is there something I should be worried about but am not?
- Am I disturbing or bothering them?
- Should I talk to them?
- I haven’t called mum at all today, and it’s her birthday
- She’ll understand that something’s up right?
- I really want to go somewhere but don’t know where
- I don’t know if I want to talk to or see anyone at the moment
- What if I can’t get my heart rate down?
- Is dad upset with me?
- I want to go on holiday but what if mum says no?
- Why am I feeling so exhausted?
- I don’t want to go home just yet
- I really need to start eating properly again
- What if I run away?
- I want to ask something but don’t know if I should
- What if they say no?
- I’m scared about final year
- Will I make it through?
- Why are there so many clashes in my timetable?
- What if I fall for the same person again?
- What if I’m becoming someone people hate?
- Do I always just make people upset?
The majority of those thoughts and worries I had in my head today are hypothetical. They are situations that I have drawn up in my head, situations without solutions. But because our mind finds it difficult to grasp onto the fact that there is no solution for hypothetical worries, we keep searching and keep worrying constantly. We convince ourselves that there is a solution out there and we will not be at rest until we find it.
Of course, it isn’t easy to differentiate, and it takes practice. But the more you do it, the more you start to recognise what is causing you unnecessary distress, the easier it will become the escape the worry cycle.