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A Key Step in Overcoming Anxiety

The End of Worry, Will van der Hart, Rob Waller, anxietyDo you think worrying makes you a thoughtful person? Or somehow prevents bad things from happening? You’re clinging to an unhealthy perception of yourself that won’t allow you to stop worrying, say Will van der Hart and Rob Waller in their book, The End of Worry: Why We Worry and How to Stop.

1. Worry aids problem-solving.

2. Worry helps to motivate.

3. Worrying prevents things from going wrong.

4. Worry protects from difficult emotions if things do go wrong.

5. Worry makes for nicer people.

We work with people who struggle with substance misuse and addiction. It is clear that, as long as substance abusers have a favorable justification for their addiction, recovery will be very hard. Often, drug users see life benefits from their drugs of choice, saying that using it “gives them confidence, makes them happy and improves the quality of their life.” They will find giving up the drug much harder than the addict who actually sees how the drug has ruined his life and stolen his freedom.

You may feel that this analogy is a bit strong, but we want to suggest to you (and we know this from personal experience) that there are great similarities between addiction and worry. It is amazing how many people claim that they are deeply frustrated by problematic worry but on the other hand actually have a partly favorable attitude toward it. It is fair to say that we will never overcome problematic worry if we secretly believe that it is actually helping us out. We have to rid ourselves of all presumed benefits of worry, just like drug addicts have to rid themselves of presumed benefits of illegal drugs. Beating the habit of a lifetime begins by seeing it as a problem to be overcome, not as a friend who helps you.

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