By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.
Excessive worry can lead to poor mental health.
Excessive worry can be a part of generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder and can be a symptom of many trauma and stress are related disorders. Life has its problems, and it’s not unusual to worry about the things you need to deal with. An occasional worry is a common thing, but if you find yourself worrying all the time, if worry is taking over your life, you may be on the road to mental health problems. Here are some of the reasons you may be worrying.
If you see doubt as danger, you will worry.
People who learn to focus on the positive aspects of things are less likely to see ambiguous situations as dangerous. When you interpret doubt as danger, the world will become an anxiety-filled situation. Whenever in doubt look for the opportunities rather than the risks. Sometimes great happiness is hiding behind that question mark.
The unknown is not always dangerous. If you look at life trying to spot every danger, your mind will magnify small challenges into impossible problems. If you look for the positive you’re likely to find the silver lining.
Is worry is one of your best friends?
If you believe that worry is a good thing, that worrying will keep you safe; you will do a lot more worrying. Worriers tend to think that their worrying will prevent bad things from happening. Unfortunately, many of the worst parts of life are totally outside our control. Believing that worrying will help you solve problems will increase your anxiety. Trying to prepare yourself for every possible bad outcome leads to an increase in worry.
Rather than trying to anticipate every problem, try to focus on the handful of significant challenges. Time spent planning and acting moves your life forward. Time spent worrying but doesn’t lead to a decision to do something is unproductive time.
You may be using the wrong worry rule.
Worriers who try to worry about every possible undesirable outcome become overwhelmed and locked in a repetitive worry cycle. People who are high in perfectionism are far more likely to become worriers. People who adopt the rule “good enough worrying” only worry about the big things that have a high probability of happening. Good enough worriers are less bothered by pathological worry. Learning to stop worrying when you have covered the significant risks will reduce the amount of worrying you do.
Excess worry can be the result of Hypervigilance.
Sometimes excessive worry is not the result of current problems but has its roots in the past. People with a history of trauma frequently become hypervigilant. Someone slammed the car door out on the street, and the hypervigilant person jumps. Even the smallest unexpected sound can upset them, and their brain adds a threatening interpretation. Because of a history of trauma, the startle response is turned up too high. If you are hypervigilant and are often jumping, examining your history of anxiety and trauma, if you have unhealed wounds from the past, professional counseling may be needed to turn down the level of hypervigilance.
Ask yourself if you worry is helpful or has it taken over your life? Maybe you need to move from worry to action. Stop obsessing about the things that are outside your control and take back control of your life.
Staying connected with David Joel Miller
Four David Joel Miller Books are available now!
Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.
Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.
Planned Accidents The second Arthur Mitchell and his dog Plutus mystery.
Sasquatch. Wandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?
For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller
Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.
For videos see: Counselorssoapbox YouTube Video Channel
Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.
For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter.