Excessive anxiety and worry, more days than not for at least six months, about a number of events or activities.
The person finds it hard to control the worry.
The anxiety or worry is associated with at least 3 of the following:
Being easily fatigued
Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
These cause significant distress or impairment in functioning.
One in 20 people will suffer from generalized anxiety at some point in their life.
Changing thoughts: People with generalized anxiety tend to focus on the “worse case scenarios” and all their ramifications, so they can be ready for it all should it happen! They hate uncertainty and try to problem-solve for every possible eventuality.
They overestimate the danger and underestimate they ability to cope. Cognitive re-structuring is used to correct these biases (overestimation and underestimation). Through therapy, one also learn to accept uncertainty as the stuff reality is made of: Very few things in life are certain, unchanging, and forever! Life is instead full of opportunities and new experiences, which permit new beginnings, growth and excitement.
Changing behaviors: People with generalized anxiety tend to procrastinate on making decisions or taking action (don’t want to make a move until they know for sure it is the right one). They seek reassurance from others or reassuring information. Treatment includes changing these behavior patterns by learning to effectively approach and solve problems (e.g., by writing and doing) and through action and exposure to situations outside of one’s comfort zone, developing the self-confidence to reassure oneself that “whatever comes my way, I can handle it”.
Optional additional treatment strategies
Relaxation and Deep Breathing
Mindfulness and Acceptance: Learning to be in the here and now, and to suspend judgment (i.e., instead of labeling experiences as “good” or “bad”, accepting them the way they are).