It’s summer and wasps are in the air. Most people consider wasps to be pests, particularly as they have a nasty habit of stinging us and their sting can be very painful.



Did you know there’s another kind of wasp that can be an absolute pest and cause considerable pain? This particular wasp looks like this:

  • Worry
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Prolonged period

Like the insect, this W.A.S.P. can appear out of nowhere and be difficult to get rid of.


Where does the W.A.S.P. come from?

We create it within our minds and bodies, like this:

When we worry we arouse anxiety which triggers our stress response which produces a cocktail of symptoms we label stress. When we experience stress over a prolonged period our mental and physical performance degrades, our health suffers, and life becomes more and more mentally and/or physically painful.


How can we rid ourselves of the W.A.S.P.?

When we’re bothered by a flying wasp we have a number of options available to us to gain relief – we can swat the wasp, spray the wasp or move away from it.

We can't completely rid ourselves of the W.A.S.P. because there's no off switch in our brain and no simple way to stop the worrisome thoughts. However, we can control the impact it has on us. Here’s the first step to doing that.


‘Know Your Enemy.’

~ Sun Tzu, Chinese general, military strategist, philosopher

It’s said that ‘knowledge is power’, and the first step in controlling the W.A.S.P. is to gain a good understanding about how it's created. With this knowledge we have a firm foundation from which to take action and, find solutions that reduce the worry, anxiety and stress in our lives.


Okay, let's take a look at each component of the W.A.S.P.


Worries are thoughts. Automatic thoughts. By that I mean they aren't thoughts that you consciously or deliberately create. They arise spontaneously in response to some external or internal trigger.

Worrying is normal. Everybody worries. It's part of the human condition.

Our worries focus on bad things that could happen in the future e.g. What if (insert bad thing here).”

Our “What if ….” thoughts generally tend to be exaggerated and unrealistic. We’re not very good at accurately predicting the likelihood and impact of future events.

For many people, worry may come and go and not be problematic. This 'ordinary' worrying serves a useful purpose. It brings potential problems to our attention. We can then develop a plan of action to resolve the problem. Having served its purpose the worry then goes away.

For some people worry may continue for extended periods of time. This 'chronic' worrying involves spending time with thoughts of possible disappointments and catastrophes, even though you don't want to. A person experiencing chronic worry, is caught in a pattern where they frequently think a thought, or related thoughts, over and over again without finding an answer or a way forward. They believe that through this repetitive, ongoing, worrying they’ll be able to somehow "ensure" that the disappointment or catastrophe never occurs.

This chain of seemingly unstoppable thoughts fuels their anxiety.


When our worries lead us to believe we are in danger then anxiety is aroused. Anxiety is an emotion. It’s a member of the fear family. The purpose of anxiety is to alert our body to start preparing for the impending danger.


The symptoms we label stress comprise the physiological reactions we experience and the behaviours and thoughts we engage in.

Prolonged period

When we experience stress over a prolonged period we are experiencing ‘chronic stress.’ Chronic stress can degrade our immune system exposing us to a greater risk of illness and disease.


The key to freeing ourselves from worry isn't to try and stop worrying, but to learn a more useful way to respond to our worries. What we worry about, the specific content of our worrisome thoughts isn't usually all that important. What's important is how we respond to those thoughts, whatever their content may be. In last week's blog I described one technique to help change the way we respond to worry and I'll write about another technique next week.

For now, here are some links to earlier blog posts where I discuss anxiety and the stress process  in more detail.


What Next?

Call me now on 021 056 8389 or email me at to find out how I can help you can gain freedom from worry, and reduce anxiety and stress.

Have a great week.
Go well


Tony Yuile is a performance improvement, well-being and success coach based in Wellington NZ. He is hired by people who want to be healthy, happy and successful. Tony's particular area of expertise is in helping people perform under pressure, reduce anxiety and manage stress. Tony’s solution focused approach to coaching uses a range of techniques drawn from the fields of co-active coaching, hypnosis, positive psychology and neuro-linguistic programming (NLP).

Contact Tony today to discuss how he can help you, or if you think Tony could help someone you know, you might like to encourage them to get in touch with him.