Relate Well! Blog

Addressing the all-important and often perplexing topics and issues related to enhancing your personal growth and professional development

Do You Worry or Have Healthy Concern?

We are currently living in an unprecedented and unusually stressful time, with the Covid-19 virus affecting nearly all of us in one way or another. It is highly likely that within the last few hours you have given in to the urge to worry about some aspect of how it may impact your life or the life of someone you love, both short term and long term.

So, let’s take a look at what worry really is in order to help us manage our feelings and behaviors more effectively.

Even under normal circumstances worry comes naturally to most of us, so it is important to consider the importance of learning how to minimize the destructive nature of worry while still effectively navigating the unavoidable, and sometimes very scary, challenges and uncertainties of life. 

As a psychologist, I have worked with hundreds of people who struggle with acute and chronic worry, and it can be very emotionally, psychologically, and physically debilitating. 

Generally speaking, worry is more often...

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When Your Fears Are Real

As Halloween approaches, we are surrounded by scary images. Giant spiders, grinning skeletons, ugly witches and flickering jack-o-lanterns can give you the creeps as they seem to pop up everywhere you look. You may be brave enough to venture into a haunted house and allow the ghouls and ghosts to scare you out of your wits, but deep down, you know it’s not real. Before long, you come out into the light and tease your friends about how loudly they screamed.

If only every scary thing in life were so simple! The incidence of anxiety is increasing in the US, thanks in part to the speed with which we can hear or read a barrage of bad news all day, every day. Many people are afraid to let their children play because they’re sure they will get hurt or a stranger will kidnap them. They worry constantly about the state of the nation and are convinced the world will end soon. Some people are panicking over every minor ache or pain because it could be some new disease that was just...

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Why Bad News Grabs Our Attention

Every day we are bombarded with television, radio, internet and newspaper headlines and stories that draw our attention to bad news.  We hear and read about natural disasters, economic uncertainty, wars and other tragedies that serve to trigger distress and worry in many people.

Did you know that 53.4% of the news on television alone depicts violence, conflict and suffering? The worse the report, the more likely it is to be the lead story because humans are naturally attracted to bad news. 

Humans exhibit this attraction to bad news thanks in large part to what is called the negativity bias.  This bias refers to a psychological phenomenon by which humans pay more attention to and give more weight to negative rather than positive experiences.  Researchers found that bad news… 

Attracts the pessimistic side of humans
Distracts us from boredom
Reminds us that we could have it worse
Reminds us to be careful and cautious
Often motivates us to take...

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