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How Not to Worry

The Remarkable Truth of How a Small Change Can Help You Stress Less and Enjoy Life More

By Paul McGee
15-minute read
Audio available
How Not to Worry: The Remarkable Truth of How a Small Change Can Help You Stress Less and Enjoy Life More by Paul McGee

How Not to Worry (2012) is a practical and accessible roadmap to defeating anxiety, stress and worry. Logical and clearly laid out, life coach Paul McGee’s approach is all about small changes that make a big difference. He shows that by thinking analytically, you can start dealing with worries rationally and free up valuable headspace for more pleasurable pursuits.

  • Serial worriers and the terminally stressed out
  • Life and performance coaches
  • Psychology buffs

Paul McGee is one of the UK’s leading motivational speakers. He has written seven books and lectured on topics ranging from workplace dynamics to stress management and confidence in 35 countries. McGee is also the founder of Shut Up, Move On (SUMO), a life-coaching program which draws on cognitive behavioral therapy.

© Paul McGee: How Not To Worry copyright 2012, John Wiley & Sons Inc. Used by permission of John Wiley & Sons Inc. and shall not be made available to any unauthorized third parties.

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How Not to Worry

The Remarkable Truth of How a Small Change Can Help You Stress Less and Enjoy Life More

By Paul McGee
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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How Not to Worry: The Remarkable Truth of How a Small Change Can Help You Stress Less and Enjoy Life More by Paul McGee
Synopsis

How Not to Worry (2012) is a practical and accessible roadmap to defeating anxiety, stress and worry. Logical and clearly laid out, life coach Paul McGee’s approach is all about small changes that make a big difference. He shows that by thinking analytically, you can start dealing with worries rationally and free up valuable headspace for more pleasurable pursuits.

Key idea 1 of 9

Worrying, anxiety and stress are all part of a cycle that can affect your health.

Have you ever found yourself lying awake at night, fretting about an upcoming presentation?

Worries can quickly snowball out of control. The key to combating them is remembering this simple motto: “Stop before you spiral.”

Worrying is part of a cycle, where the next stops are anxiety and stress.

More precisely, worrying is a mode of thinking that leads to anxiety. That, in turn, triggers your body’s survival instinct – a series of physical reactions that fall under the category of stress. These can include heart palpitations, dilated pupils and a tightened chest.

Worry, anxiety and stress form a feedback loop. Worrying is both a cause and effect of anxiety or stress, and the cycle can be triggered at any stage. Stress can lead to anxiety and worry, while anxiety can also cause worry and stress.

Take one of the author’s experiences to see how this works.

During a holiday in northwest England, he and his wife heard a seemingly vicious dog barking from behind a hedge. Fearing an imminent attack, the couple’s “fight or flight” instinct kicked in.

In other words, the barking caused stress while their fear of an attack caused anxiety. Fretting about finding a quick escape route made them worry. It turned out that the author had merely imagined that the dog was prowling around without an owner or a leash, as he felt immediately threatened by the unknown growls.

Once you get stuck in this cycle, it starts taking its toll on your quality of life.

There are a number of physical symptoms. Stress weakens your immune system and leaves you more susceptible to illnesses, as well as decreasing your sex drive.

Mentally, the cycle robs you of the valuable headspace you need to make sound decisions. To put it starkly, stress makes you stupid, as you’re constantly reacting to a threatening world rather than acting rationally.

Most importantly, you lose the ability to simply enjoy the present moment when you’re stuck in this kind of feedback loop. When you’re constantly preoccupied by worst-case scenarios, you lose your sense of motivation and creative inspiration.

Now that we’ve seen how worrying is linked to anxiety and stress, we’ll take a closer look at the root causes of your worries.

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