Feeling worried? Try working through it with our interactive graphic

Specialist Nurse Adviser at Bupa UK
02 March 2018

If you have something on your mind, why not try our interactive ‘worry tree’? Just download the interactive worry tree image and begin at the bottom. The tree asks you to reflect on the cause of your worry, and whether it’s something you can do anything about. It then suggests some helpful steps you could take, or ways that you could come to terms with it.

Work through your worries

We hope the diagram below will be a helpful starting point as you deal with everyday worries. But we also know you may have more serious concerns, or be struggling to cope with your emotions. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it’s always best to see your GP. They can help you manage and get the support you need. Beneath the diagram you’ll find more tips and information about working through your worries.

For the best user experience, please view this interactive PDF on desktop, rather than on mobile or tablet devices. If the viewer you are using does not support this PDF, try opening it with Adobe Reader.

Worry tree 

Is worrying always a bad thing?

We all worry. To a certain extent, it’s a normal part of life. Mild worrying can often be a natural way to work through a problem and reach a solution. It may also help you stay alert and perform well while we’re doing certain things – attending a job interview, for example.

When worrying becomes a problem

Worrying can be unhelpful when it starts to take over, making you feel unhappy or interfering with your everyday life. This can make it easy to interpret everything negatively, which only leads you to worry more. Say for example you spot someone you know in the street, but they don’t acknowledge you. Do you assume that they were probably just distracted and didn’t see you? Or do you immediately worry that you’ve offended them in some way, and that they deliberately ignored you? You can see how worrying can begin to feed itself.

Ruminating is a particularly destructive form of worry. It typically involves dwelling on unhelpful negative thoughts – for example, ’What if something terrible happens?’ or ‘Why does everything I do go wrong?’. This type of thought pattern can become a habit that’s difficult to break.

When it persists, worrying can become a mental health problem. One in seven of us will be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at some point in our lives. One of the most common anxiety disorders is generalised anxiety disorder. This is a long-term condition where you regularly feel worried about a range of everyday things, without always knowing why you feel worried.

How worrying can affect you physically

When you feel really worried, it can cause physical symptoms. If you’re mentally tense, your body can become tense too, causing aches, pains or headaches. The signs that you’re particularly anxious can include a fast heart beat, sweating, a dry mouth, feeling sick or having difficulty breathing. Some people feel dizzy or faint.

Worry can disrupt your life in other ways too. During periods of particular stress, you may have difficulty sleeping, find it hard to concentrate or feel irritable.

What could help you to worry less?

  • Talking about your everyday worries with someone you trust can often help you to process them. This sounds so simple, but many of us forget it.
  • Relaxation techniques such as mindfulness and yoga might help you to feel calmer.
  • Taking steps to look after your physical health can make a big difference, whether that means exercising, changing your diet or drinking less alcohol.
  • If you’re struggling with worry, it’s important that you speak to your GP. They can advise you on the best course of action and help you to get the support or treatment you need.

Mindfulness is a great way to nurture your mental health. Our health insurance allows you to skip GP referral in some cases, and speak straight to a consultant.

Fatmata Kamara
Specialist Nurse Adviser at Bupa UK

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