You wish you didn't spend as much time worrying as you do, but you just can't seem to help it. Worrying feels like second nature. It's what helps you solve your problems and prevents you from making mistakes. It's what motivates you to be prepared--if you didn't worry, things might get out of hand. Worry protects you, prepares you, and keeps you safe.
Is it working? Or is it making you tense, tired, anxious, uncertain--and more worried?
For more than twenty-five years, Dr. Robert L. Leahy has successfully helped thousands of people defeat the worry that is holding them back. The Worry Cure is his new, comprehensive approach to help you identify, challenge, and overcome all types of worry, using the most recent research and his more than two decades of experience in treating patients.
This empowering seven-step program, including practical, easy-to-follow advice and techniques, will help you:
* Determine your "worry profile" and change your patterns of worry
* Identify productive and unproductive worry
* Take control of time and eliminate the sense of urgency that keeps you anxious
* Focus on new opportunities--not on your fear of failure
* Embrace uncertainty instead of searching for perfect solutions
* Stop the most common safety behaviors that you think make things better--but actually make things worse
Designed to address general worries as well as the unique issues surrounding some of the most common areas of worry--relationships, health, money, work, and the need for approval--The Worry Cure is for everyone, from the chronic worrier to the occasional ruminator. It's time to stop thinking you're "just a worrier" who can't change and start using the groundbreaking methods in The Worry Cure to achieve the healthier, more successful life you deserve.
For "highly worried people," or those who suffer from the "what-if disease," Leahy (president of the International Association of Cognitive Therapy and author of Cognitive Therapy Techniques: A Practitioner's Guide) presents a systematic, accessible self-help guide to gaining control over debilitating anxiety. Leahy is an expert in changing thought processes, and he walks worriers step-by-step through problems in the way they think, with pointers on how to change these biases. For self-assessment, he provides several questionnaires to take your worry profile, including estimations of your, personal beliefs on self and relationships, and your ability to tolerate uncertainty. The author then outlines a seven-step worry-reduction plan: beginning with identifying productive and unproductive worry, progressing to improving skills for accepting reality, challenging worried thinking and learning to harness unpleasant emotions such as fear or anger. With numerous examples, Leahy also covers the broad life anxieties that may spark dysfunctional thinking: relationships, health, money and work. Following Leahy's steps involves keeping emotion diaries, answering a battery of questions to monitor and challenge worries and maintaining regular vigilance over your thoughts. Those who can summon the discipline and commitment to stick to Leahy's program might find some relief.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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October 23, 2006
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Excerpt from The Worry Cure by Robert L. Leahy
1: Understanding Worry
Worry is everywhere. All of us worry, including me. You are not alone. In fact, 38 percent of people worry every day. And many people describe themselves as chronic worriers--they say, "I've been a worrier all my life." But that's only a modest indication of how worry has come to impact every aspect of our lives, limiting our enjoyment and satisfaction. Worry is the central component of all the anxiety disorders and depression. Research shows that worry precedes the onset of depression--you literally worry yourself into depression. Fifty percent of the people in the United States have had serious problems with depression, anxiety, or substance abuse at some time.1 Depression, anxiety, and substance abuse have increased during the past fifty years.2
The problem of worry is one that urgently needs a solution. To find one, we first need to understand it.
The Different Kinds of Worry
Let's consider three people who worry.
* Jane is thirty-two years old and single. She and Roger just broke up after a two-year relationship. They had been talking about getting married, but Roger got cold feet, and Jane got fed up with him. She felt she didn't want to wait forever for Roger to get his act together, so she broke it off. She knows she did the right thing, but now she worries: "Will I ever find a guy who can make a commitment?" and "Will I ever be able to have kids?" She sits in her apartment at night eating cookies and watching sitcoms.
* Brian is forty-five. He hasn't filed his taxes for two years. He is sitting at home alone--just like Jane--thinking that he's a loser for being so stupid not to file his taxes. He imagines the feds coming to his home and taking him away in handcuffs. Brian knows, in his rational mind, that he hasn't committed a crime--his employer withheld the taxes, and he's only late in filing. The worst case would probably be some kind of fine. But every time he sits down to start his taxes, his stomach clenches, his mind races, and he's overcome by an overwhelming sense of dread. To avoid this feeling, he turns on ESPN and thinks, "I'll wait for a better time."
* Diane turns forty next month. She just had a complete medical exam two weeks ago, and everything is fine. But she feels a slight irregularity in her breast and begins to think, "Is this cancer?" Even though the doctor assured her she is healthy, Diane knows you can never be too careful. Just six months ago she thought she had Lou Gehrig's disease. Diane was relieved to learn she didn't have a serious neurological problem--only a bad case of nerves. Diane knows her fears are real--even though everyone else tells her to see a therapist.
I could fill several volumes with stories about people who worry. One of the volumes could probably be written by you! We worry about everything--getting rejected, ending up alone, doing badly on an exam, not looking that good, what someone thinks of us, getting sick, falling off cliffs, crashing in airplanes, losing our money, being late, going crazy, having weird thoughts and feelings, being humiliated.
You find yourself puzzled with thoughts like these:
* I know that I keep predicting the worst, but I can't help myself.
* Even when people tell me it's going to be OK, I still can't stop worrying.
* I try to put these thoughts out of my mind, but they just keep coming back.
* I know it's not likely to happen, but what if I'm the one?
* Why can't I get control of my thoughts?
* Why am I driving myself crazy with these worries?
For example, Greg worries that things at work might go badly if he doesn't get this project done on time. Even if he gets it done, he thinks it might not be up to par. The boss could get angry at him. What if he gets so angry he decides to fire him? After all, three people were laid off last month. And then what would his wife think? She'd be disappointed. Now Greg notices that he's worrying again, and he thinks, "I'm worried all the time, and I can't get any control over this worry. I'll never get any sleep tonight, and then I'll be tired, and then I won't be able to get this project done." And so on in a vicious circle.
Greg has generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), or what I call the "what-if disease." A lot of what we will discuss in this book relates directly to this particular kind of worry. If you have this problem, then you worry about a number of different things--money, health, relationships, safety, or performance. And you worry you don't have control of your worries. This is one of the longest-lasting anxiety disorders. You jump from one worry to another, predicting one catastrophe after another. Plus you worry about the fact that you are worrying so much. Not only are you worried, but you also have difficulty sleeping, are irritable and tense and tired, have indigestion, sweat a lot, and just feel nervous a good deal of the time. It's hard to relax. No wonder you are often depressed or have physical problems such as irritable bowel syndrome.3