I have a question for you, are you a worrier?
After the couple of years we’ve had in this pandemic are we all worrying a bit more but there’s a difference between normal worry and worrying to a point it’s impacting your mental health, your life and your relationships.
Worries, doubts and anxieties are a normal part of everyday life, but the excessive, persistent, uncontrollable worry is not. Anxiety, panic, and constant discontent is not and It’s not something you need to live with. If you constantly worry about ‘what-ifs’ and worst-case scenarios or struggle to get anxious thoughts out of your head, then worry could be taking a toll on your emotional and physical health.
The good news is that it doesn’t need to be.
I’ve put together a podcast episode that will help you start to understand what worry is and provide an introduction to some of the strategies that you can put in place to start reducing worry – Listen Here
Common symptoms of excessive worry
Many people are unaware it’s worry they struggle with until we name it in their therapy session. – And lots of people have no idea it’s treatable with CBT therapy.
People will say “I’m always catastrophising, thinking of what could go wrong, feeling overwhelmed, my glass is half empty. I have a really – busy mind, I’m always on the go, over planning and risk assessing, feeling out of control, have an anxious mind”.
Often people will feel like life is good so they shouldn’t be worrying, this then triggers self-criticism and guilt and things get worse.
We all experience at least one worrying thought every day – we are built for survival so it’s in our DNA to focus on what could go wrong- BUT it becomes a problem when it’s very consuming for long periods of time, stopping you from enjoying your life and taking up a lot of time and impacting your mood.
Excessive worry is a problem for about 5% of the population it is called in the clinical world having generalised anxiety disorder – which I think sounds like a pretty scary term – we could just call it to worry.
Worry – Characterised by a busy mind – the feeling of overwhelm – lots of ‘what-ifs’ that spiral out of control
- Some of the physical symptoms are
- Muscle tension
- Anxiety and feeling wired
- Sleep difficulties
- Poor concentration
- Feeling exhausted and worn out with it
What is worry
‘Worry ‘is a chain of thoughts and images, negatively affect-laden and relatively uncontrollable; it represents an attempt to engage in mental problem-solving on an issue whose outcome is uncertain but contains the possibility of one or more negative outcomes; consequently, worry relates closely to the fear process. (Borokovec et al., 1983:10)
Why is it important you get help?
Experiencing long term anxiety for any reason is not good for our psychological resilience
There’s a negative impact on our relationships, happiness and stress levels
It impacts our physical health.
You’ll be less productive and might find it difficult to be spontaneous and take risks.
It’s really time-consuming and can become a habit.
Long term worry will prevent you from living in the moment and enjoying the small things in life.
Constant worry can evolve into depression
Our minds are like muscles so the more we worry the harder it gets to pull away from it so the earlier you seek help the better. We have a lot of control over our minds so just like we have trained our minds to worry we can untrain this
Common Causes of Excessive Worry
Life events can impact worry levels experiencing lots of uncertainty or bad things happening where you learn to try to be more prepared or try to develop more control over things. You may have developed a higher sensitivity to threats around you due to your experiences or feel overly responsible.
We like to know what’s going to happen and to feel like things are certain and in our control, it’s good for our survival and we humans are all about survival.
You can learn more about how to manage uncertainty on this podcast episode – Managing Uncertainty