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Worry refers to the thoughts, images and emotions of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made[vague] to avoid anticipated potential threats. As an emotion it is experienced as anxiety or concern about a real or imagined issue, often personal issues such as health or finances, or broader issues such as environmental pollution and social or technological change. Most people experience short-lived periods of worry in their lives without incident; indeed, a moderate amount of worrying may even have positive effects, if it prompts people to take precautions (e.g., fastening their seat belt or buying fire insurance) or avoid risky behaviours (e.g., angering dangerous animals, or binge drinking).
Excessive worry is the main component of generalized anxiety disorder.
One theory of anxiety by Liebert and Morris in 1967 suggests that anxiety consists of two components; worry and emotionality. Emotionality refers to physiological symptoms such as sweating, increased heartbeat and raised blood pressure. Worry refers to negative self-talk that often distracts the mind from focusing on solutions to the problem at hand. For example, when students become anxious during a test, they may repeatedly tell themselves they are going to fail, or they cannot remember the material, or that their teacher will become angry with them if they perform poorly. This thinking interferes with focusing on the test as the speech areas of the brain that are needed to complete test questions are being used for worrying.
Dr. Edward Hallowell, psychiatrist and author of Worry," argues that while "Worry serves a productive function," anticipatory and dangerous worrying—which he calls "toxic worry"--can be harmful for your mental and physical health. He claims that "Toxic worry is when the worry paralyzes you," whereas "Good worry leads to constructive action" such as taking steps to resolve the issue that is causing concern. To combat worry, Hallowell suggests that people should not worry alone, because people are much more likely to come up with solutions when talking about their concerns with a friend. As well, he urges worriers to find out more information about the issue that is troubling them, or make sure that their information is correct. Another step to reduce worry is to make a plan and take action and take "care of your brain" by sleeping enough, getting exercise, and eating a healthy diet (without a "lot of carbs, junk food, alcohol, drugs, etc). Hallowell encourages worriers to get "regular doses of positive human contact" such as "a hug or a warm pat on the back." Finally, he suggests that worriers let the problem go rather than gathering them around themselves.
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