Everyone worries. Sometimes you may feel you worry too much. There is a psychiatric diagnosis called Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) that pretty much describes what it feels like to be a worrywart. Do you think you might meet the criteria for GAD? Are you worried about it? Let’s take a peek at the DSM 5. Then let’s deal with it!!!
1. The Presence of Worry
The presence of excessive anxiety and worry about a variety of topics, events, or activities. Worry occurs more often than not for at least 6 months and is clearly excessive. Excessive worry means worrying even when there is no specific threat present or in a manner that is disproportionate to the actual risk. Someone struggling with GAD experiences a high percentage of their waking hours worrying about something.
2. Challenging to Control
The worry is experienced as very challenging to control. The worry in both adults and children may easily shift from one topic to another.
The anxiety and worry are accompanied with at least three of the following physical or cognitive symptoms (In children, only one symptom is necessary for a diagnosis of GAD):
- Edginess or restlessness
- Tiring easily; more fatigued than usual
- Impaired concentration or feeling as though the mind goes blank
- Irritability (which may or may not be observable to others)
- Increased muscle aches or soreness
- Difficulty sleeping (due to trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, restlessness at night, or unsatisfying sleep)
- Many individuals with GAD experience sweating, nausea, or diarrhea.
- The anxiety, worry, or associated symptoms make it hard to carry out day-to-day activities and responsibilities. They may cause problems in relationships, at work, or in other important areas.
- These symptoms are unrelated to any other medical conditions and cannot be explained by the effect of substances including a prescription medication, alcohol, or recreational drugs.
- These symptoms are not better explained by a different mental disorder
Whether you feel you have GAD or not, let’s learn to use our mind, our relationships and this life the way God intended.
The Purpose of Worry
"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble."
Worry has a biological, psychological, sociological and spiritual purpose. Knowing the purpose worry plays in your life can firm your spiritual resilience and show you the way to wise decision-making.
While driving, something may suddenly appear on the side of the road. Alternatively, some low nagging thought or sound your car is making may finally declare in your subconscious mind’s voice, “What’s that?!” Your subconscious mind takes care of almost everything you do, but at times, interrupts your conscious thoughts to focus your attention on a potential problem at hand.
Your subconscious mind is an amazing multitasker! Even while “mindlessly” people watching, your subconscious mind directs who and what you look for. Studies of visual tracking while watching others can be pretty embarrassing! But don’t kid yourself, the subconscious mind is pretty good at knowing what parts of you people are looking at. People are generally aware of this and make their assumptions. (Now, even more to worry about!)
However, daily spiritual centering provides the opportunity to better understand and take control of your worries. Chronic worry comes with the anticipation of unexplainable difficulties and potential failure, but what if you are right? What if… the very fact you are worrying is perceived by those around you? This can lead to misunderstandings, a lack of trust and diminished commitments to anything you attempt. You may be causing others to worry! (Now you’re feeling guilty! Lol)
Let it go ... it’s simply God calling, and He wants to help. You are wonderfully made so let’s understand the purpose of worry so that you can put it in its place in your thought stream.
- Worry is one of your subconscious mind’s ways of asking you to focus on something that needs a little additional attention. Your subconscious mind handles many things at the same time, one being to warn you about something you haven't yet consciously perceived.
- As with all subconscious efforts, (as is God’s efforts!) it is wired to serve you. When you stand, it raises your blood pressure, when you sit down, it lowers it.
- When it interrupts your normal flow of thought (which also provides guidance!), it does so because it requires more information to process a concern. It can process many things at the same time as long as everything is following the rules it has learned to live by.
- When it perceives something that doesn’t follow the rules, whether at the side of the road or inside one of your relationships, it requests the temporary use of a little more processing power. It can use almost any emotion to do so, “the startle response”, anger or, for the purpose of this article, worry.
- If you honor the request by taking a deep breath (actives conscious/subconscious connections), let go of the feeling of worry (as it has served its purpose of waking you up to the issue at hand), shift worry to concern as you direct your attention to the issue at hand and make appropriate decisions, the worry will go away as it is no longer necessary.
- It’s never that simple, so let’s learn a little more about the “rules” of the game:
- Your conscious mind doesn't have the processing power, so all it needs from you is a little time to focus your attention on the issue at hand, make a decision and let all worry and concern go.
- If you don’t let go of the worry, you won’t be able to think clearly. You pretty much have to decide - do I primarily want to feel or think? Take a deep breath, let the feeling go…and allow yourself a period of concern for the issue at hand.
- When you stay with the emotion, worry, your subconscious mind won’t like it, but is forced to comply with your decision. (The problem of free will!!) Your subconscious mind will practice feeling worried when it should be concerned. To do this, it will lessen its use of your “child of God circuit” shifting to a smaller and much less effective subconscious circuit. It will send you messages to help clean up this mess later.
- Your subconscious mind activates these clean-up activities by sending messages of excessive anger, anxiousness alternating with excessive feelings of dependence on something you like, depression and, if all else fails, negative messages about who you or others are. (The Deceiver's greatest weapon!) Daily prayer and meditation help you to find and address these issues earlier and with greater efficacy (e.g. before the monkey on your back becomes a gorilla!) This clean up activity is important and will get increasingly difficult to ignore over time.
- Ask yourself, “What else do I need to know to make a decision?”
- “What relationships does this decision effect? Who might be able to provide additional information? What strengths of mine are being tested? What wisdom is being called for? Have I experienced this type of issue before in this or another relationship? Do I have or need a mentor who has gone through something like this? What am I sensing as I pray about it?”
- “What might need to happen before I can make a decision?”
- “Is there a time, a place or a time of day that might help me process this information better?”
- Write down where you are in this decision-making process with your inspiring plan of action set in place to maximize the results of any decision you make that is good for you (and your relationship with God), good for others (and their relationship with God) and good for the greater good (which is God’s will) greater good.
- Schedule times in your calendar that you will ‘check in’ with your progress. (Measuring and Monitoring your progress works!)
- Write a time you believe you can sit down, alone or with others to make the decision or otherwise move the process forward.
- Leave a space in your plan for amazing insights, healing and growth about this concern ... and many others! Daily prayer generalizes such efforts involving the way you think about yourself and all of your efforts!
Please join me on this amazing journey called “our life”. Join one of my online video courses: Grow in Oneness, Heal in Oneness or Master of Oneness and share with others your life path and the wisdom we all hunger for!