Anxiety and worry are common fears that women face. Women often carry both the stress of caring for themselves and their loved ones, which compounds their anxiety and creates worry. Although every woman’s unique fears and worries may be different, women’s anxieties can often be related to:
• Fear of judgment by others i.e: worrying what others think about me or if they like me
• Physical appearance
• Romantic relationship insecurities
• Suffering or loss of a loved one
• Fears over children’s safety
• Health of loved ones and parents
• Performance, either in the workplace or as a mother
• Fears about their future stability
Anxieties can be likened to fears or irrational beliefs which can interfere with daily functioning and thoughts about ourselves and lives. Often times, when women worry they are catastrophizing or magnifying a small fear and assuming the outcome will be a terrible one. Assumptions are made about worst case scenarios rather than thinking realistically about the likely small risk that may be truly present. If you find yourself magnifying or fortune-telling a horrible scenario, ask yourself “Am I really thinking realistic right now? What evidence do I really have that suggests it will be that bad? What evidence do I have that indicates it likely won’t be as bad as I expect?” Asking yourself some of these reality testing questions can be very helpful in reducing anxiety when it is happening.
Therapy is one solution to the invasive and interfering effects of anxiety. There are also many other ways to counter the effects of anxiety and diminish anxiety invoking thoughts in your life. Setting aside time to think about your problems and practicing reality testing can help to reduce anxiety and stress throughout the day. This can also give you the opportunity to implement a solution and avoid anxiety taking over your day. Writing your thoughts down can help you make better sense of them. Physically you can calm anxiety by taking a few deep breaths, which provides a wave of relaxation over the body that will help you think more clearly.
Article written by: Stacie Courtney-Mustaphi, Bach. Soc.Sci, MA Candidate & Cassandra Petrella, MA