Summary of Chapter Three in The End of Worry: Why We Worry and How to Stop by Will Van der Hart and Rob Waller. Will is a  pastor working in London and Rob is a Christian psychiatrist. Both are recovering worriers.

1. One of the way to stop a worry cycle is to control bodily symptoms.

2. Generalized anxiety order is characterized by:

  • Excessive (out of proportion) worry that a person finds difficult to control.
  • Lack of confinement to a particular problem, but more a tendency to worry.
  • Accompanied by three or more of these symptoms: restlessness, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, irritability, muscular tension, and sleep disturbance
  • Significant distress, meaning that the worrier can no longer perform as before.

3. The mind is very powerful and literally controls the body. But controlling the body can also help the mind. The two primary ways of using the body to control the mind are controlling breathing and maintaining sleep hygiene

4. Controlling breathing. Most people who worry chronically tend to breathe 20-30 times a minute whereas the norm is 10-15 breaths a minute. This adversely affects our blood chemistry and brain activity. This can be changed by practicing slowing down breathing twice a day.

5. Maintaining sleep hygiene. This is comprised of a number of elements but the most important is a regular bed-time and rise-time.

6. Three common worry cycles.

  • What-if Worry: Thinking about all the possible things that could happen next. The more you think, the more worries arise, and the worse it gets. Because we are pro-actively scanning for every possible type of problem, we see lots more problems than the average person sees.
  • The Worry Pendulum: Swinging from “Panic” to “Trying not to worry” with no time spent in the middle, the place of uncertainty (which is the place we must try to spend more time in so that we can tolerate uncertainty)
  • Worry about worry: Will I spiral out of control if I stop monitoring my worry? However, this monitoring becomes extremely difficult and stressful itself.

 7. Worriers will do almost anything to avoid getting into worrying situations. 

The End of Worry: Why We Worry and How to Stop by Will Van der Hart and Rob Waller.