Why do you worry?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Man worrying,

Some things you do not need to worry about.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Excess worry damages your mental health.

Many people know that worry and rumination can damage their mental health. Those same people may hold contradictory beliefs that they must worry to prevent bad things from happening.

People who hold both positive and negative beliefs about worry are likely to be higher in anxiety, experience more depression, and have impaired physical as well as mental health.

Positive beliefs about worry encourage worrying.

People who are high in worry, often have firm beliefs about the positive consequences of worrying. The way you think about worrying plays a role in creating and maintaining that worry. It’s hard to give up worry, no matter how painful it is, if you have positive beliefs about the benefits of worrying. If you worry a lot, examine your beliefs about worry. You may be expecting worry to play a role in life; it’s not able to fill.

People who worry a lot believe Worry will keep them safe.

People who worry a lot, often have a belief that worrying will make possible future negative events less likely to happen or will prevent those bad results from happening altogether. People who worry a lot expect that worry will reduce the consequences should a bad event happened.

Some worriers believe that worry motivates them.

Humans tend to be loss averse. Most people will work a lot harder to avoid losing something they have then they will work to get an item of equal value. If you worry about flooding, you may buy flood insurance.

When they are unhappy with their current job, a worrier is likely to put more effort into avoiding the loss of the current job then they will put into securing a new better job.

People who frequently worry may believe worry helps analytic thinking.

At the beginning of a project, most people see only probable success. Worriers have the belief that by worrying about what could go wrong they will spot possible dangers.

Frequent worriers believe that they need to control their thoughts.

People who are high in worry often believe that their brains will think dangerous thoughts. Sometimes they confuse the difference between thinking about something and causing it to happen.

Worriers are intolerance of uncertainty.

People who have difficulty accepting that some things are out of their control are at increased risk to develop excessive, pathological worry. People who are high in worry and anxiety believe they are responsible for controlling outcomes. Not being able to predict what will happen coupled with the belief that with enough thought and effort you should be able to control the results, can result in debilitating worry and anxiety.

Worriers use the “as many as I can” worry stop rule.

People who plan focus on the high probability issues. Worriers attempt to anticipate everything that could go wrong. Because of their efforts to anticipate every possible negative outcome, worriers spend a lot of time focused on low probability events and often are unprepared for the things that do occur. People who are low in worry use the “good enough worrying” rule. They worry only about a few high probability outcomes.

Worriers believe they must have cognitive confidence.

People who worry a lot, value high levels of confidence. They’re uncomfortable with uncertainty. Many life events contain large amounts of uncertainty. Worriers try to reduce that uncertainty by turning the possibilities over and over looking for other things that could go wrong.

People who worry a lot tell themselves worry is uncontrollable.

The focusing for worriers is on preventing negative feelings and consequences rather than on preventing worry. If you believe worry is uncontrollable, then it is something you are required to do. Believing worry is uncontrollable, but that you are responsible for controlling what happens leads to superstitious beliefs and may result in repetitive obsessive-compulsive disorder behaviors.

High levels of negative feelings create worry.

Feelings of pessimism, personal inadequacy or incompetence, and personal despair and hopelessness make it more likely they will worry. People who are sad or depressed are likely to worry more.

Worry can be used to avoid facing unpleasant life events.

When you worry, you can stay focused on what might happen, and you don’t have to think about what is taking place in your life today. Studies have demonstrated that people use worry as a way of avoiding unpleasant situations and feelings. By staying “up in your head” in worry, you can block the part of the nervous system that processes feelings.

If you worry a lot, now might be a good time to challenge some of the beliefs you have about worry.

David Joel Miller, MS is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC.)  Mr. Miller provides supervision for beginning counselors and therapists and teaches at the local college in the Substance Abuse Counseling program.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two 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.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

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. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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Feeding your worry.

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Anxiety provoking.

Anxiety.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Are you feeding the anxiety monster?

The more you feed your anxiety, the larger grows. It’s easy to miss the connection between worry and anxiety.

Some dictionary definitions of worry are:  to give in to anxiety or decrease, to let your mind dwell on your troubles and difficulties.

Continuing to worry increases your uncertainty and grows your anxiety until it takes over your life. How many of these ways are you feeding the anxiety monster with your worry?

Stay up all night keeping worry company.

When there is lots of uncertainty, potential problems ahead, many people hold on tightly to their worries. Often after a good night sleep, things look differently in the morning. A certain way to expand your anxiety is to sit up as long as possible, thinking through every possible negative outcome. Ruminating about low probability bad outcomes is just the sort of worry-food the anxiety monster craves.

You won’t let anyone else babysit your worry.

People who have their anxiety under control learn to use experts to manage their risks. One way to increase your anxiety is to keep all your worries to yourself, and never share them with anyone who might be able to put your mind at ease. Have financial challenges? You should talk to a financial professional. If you have medical issues, you need to see your doctor. For emotional issues, a good counselor can be helpful.

Some people become so attached to their anxiety that they would never consider allowing anyone else to babysit their anxiety monster. If you become unwilling to share your worry with anyone who might be able to help reduce the risks, you’ve taken on the care and feeding of an anxiety monster.

Every morning pick worry back up.

Should you ever get a good night’s sleep, make sure you pick up where you left off worrying the night before. Mentally healthy people can set aside their worries and engage in work and play and positive social relationships with others.

Some people come to view anxiety as their best friend. Their hope is that by worrying enough, they might be able to prevent something bad happening. If you’ve adopted this thought, you’re likely to find that even when the danger is past, after being able to do something enjoyable with others, as soon as you can, you will pick your worries back up and cuddle them tightly.

Stay angry to grow anxieties.

When you’re angry at someone, you’re likely to expect the worst from them. If you’re angry at others, you expect them to be angry back. Your anger at others and your anticipation of their retaliation are certain to feed your anxiety monster.

Indulge negative feelings.

Negative feelings are a superfood for anxiety monsters. Indulging yourself in every possible negative feeling is guaranteed to increase your worry and anxiety. Should you ever chance to spot a silver lining, search carefully for the black cloud behind it.

People who are high in the ability to worry and make themselves anxious, are often skilled at seeing the worst in every person, place, or situation.

Remind yourself that it is your fault.

If you want to stay anxious and fearful all the time, take on the responsibility for the whole world. Tell yourself that you should have foreseen that earthquake and moved somewhere else. If something breaks, believe that it’s your fault. When others treat you badly, look for what you must’ve done wrong to create their bad behavior.

If someone you know abuses drugs or alcohol or gets in trouble with the law, ask yourself what you must have done wrong to make them misbehave. This constant believing that everything that goes wrong in the world must somehow have been the result of your failure to foresee it is guaranteed to keep you unhappy and anxious.

Search for evidence to grow your fears.

Whenever there is a doubt, do your best to find evidence to prove that the thing you’re afraid of is dangerous. If you can’t find reliable scientific evidence, post your worry on social media and ask people to tell you why you should be afraid of something. When there’s no evidence, believe that your fear is justified just because it feels scary to you.

The human brain has a bias towards negative information. Let ten good things happen, followed by one bad thing, most people will remember only the one problem. Say you get a job interview, and the interview goes well, you get the new job at a very good salary, but on the way home, you get a flat tire. Continue for the rest of your life to remind yourself nothing good ever happens to you “every time” you try to drive; you get a flat tire.

Especially worry about things you can’t change.

People with a well-developed anxiety monster rarely think about things they might be able to control. Nothing expands anxiety like focusing exclusively on things that are out of your control. To maximize anxiety don’t worry about working overtime and paying your electric bill, focus your worry on the possibility this will be an unusually cold winter, and there might be a worldwide shortage of fuel.

Have you had enough anxiety?

I tried to exaggerate all these ways in which people can increase their anxiety. I hope you can see that there may be thoughts you are practicing which are increasing your anxiety. Consider trying to have more helpful thoughts. Change some of the ways you’ve been dealing with life’s challenges and see if you can’t reduce your anxiety.

If your anxiety, worries, and fears have grown so large, that they are taking over your life, consider that now be might be the time to seek professional help. A good counselor or therapist can help you learn to manage and reduce your anxiety and fear.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two 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.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

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. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Things you need to stop worrying about

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

Man worrying,

Some things you do not need to worry about.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Worrying about the wrong things is keeping you stuck.

Some things may be worth worrying about. Especially if that worry will spur you to take action and change something.

There are a whole lot of things that consume people’s time in worry that really should not be on your list of things to worry about.

Chuck these topics of worry for a happier more productive life.

1. Stop worrying about what others think about you.

The more you do the more people will find to criticize you about. What others think about you is none of your business. Do things because you think they are right, do them because they please you and because this is what you chose to do. Let others opinions go.

2. Stop worrying that you are not good enough.

You are however you are. Accept yourself as you are and then go on to make the best of who and what you are. You are plenty good enough for you. If there is room for improvement focus on the things you would like to be better and let go of the thoughts that you are not yet all you want to be.

You are and will be throughout your life a work in progress, not a finished person.

3. Stop worrying about what you “should” do.

That list of “should’s” left over from childhood is holding you back. Do not do things because others said you should. If you think it is right do it. Do only those things that are right for you.

Do what you are doing. Do it to the best of your ability and in a fair and honest way but never sweat whether the thing you have chosen to do is what you “should” be doing.

While doing one thing do not worry about other things you should be doing. Stay focused on the moment or quit and change what you are doing.

You are always doing what you are doing now.

4. Do not worry that people do not agree with you.

There are always people who will disagree no matter who you are or what you will do. New, innovative things arise because someone does something that others never thought of doing.

You will not be able to make everyone happy. Start by making yourself happy. Consider the consequences of who will disagree with you and why, but the final authority on you is you.

5. Do not worry about someone else’s issues.

You can only change you. If someone else has issues then they need to be willing to change. You can offer support if they chose to change but you are not in charge of others’ lives and they are not in control of yours.

Focus on your own issues, those things you can and should be working on and offer others the same option.

6. Stop trying to get someone to do what you want.

You can waste a lot of time on manipulation and trying to control others. Work on being the kind of person others would want to work with rather than trying to make them do things your way.

Your way may be good for you but it might not be what someone else needs. Especially stay focused on the results you want rather than on making others do things the way you would do them.

7. Don’t worry that you do not have enough education

Plenty of people have accomplished great things with minimal education. People frequently use a lack of formal education as an excuse for not doing anything.

Do what you can with the training you have. Practical experience is a great teacher. Get more education if this is a requirement for a field you want to work in. You are never too old for more learning. Many people have to retrain multiple times for new careers. People with one degree decide that field is not a fit for them and change occupations.

Make the most of what you know and learn something new each day. You will be amazed at how far you can go.

8. Do not worry about your looks.

Make the most of what you have but always stay focused on who you are inside and what you can do. Sure in some fields a certain look is valued. But there are plenty of stories about how a person who is driven to succeed made it even though they did not fit the normal look.

A quick glance around any large employer will show you that there are lots of people working there that have less than perfect looks.

9. Do not think that you can’t face a problem.

Most problems have to be faced one way or another. Even if you run you have had an encounter with that problem. Run once and you may have to run the rest of your life. Problems do not disappear when you run from them. Many problems shrink as soon as you begin to take actions to work on them.

10. Avoid rehashing what you should have done.

The past is gone. Worrying about what you should have done prevents you from doing in the only time you ever really have – the now.

Keep doing. Accept that some things will work out. You will have some regrets and along the way, you will accomplish some things you can be proud of.

11. Stop thinking that you are not doing enough.

Do what you can. Make an honest effort. That is enough. If you can do more do it. Time spent worrying that you are not doing enough is time not spent working or relaxing. Self-care, time not working, is a part of keeping yourself productive.

12. Do not worry that you are doing too much.

If you are highly productive give yourself credit. If this is wearing you out cut back. Practice saying “No.” If you need to do this because of a boss or a position you hold then relax and stop worrying about it.

Do not concern yourself that you are doing more and someone else is doing less. You are not them and they are not you.

13. Stop worrying about things that are out of your control.

Plan for the unexpected. Work to mitigate the effects of disasters and the unexpected but worrying about them wastes time trying to control the uncontrollable when you should be making the most of the opportunities at hand.

Worrying about the unexpected wears you out and accomplishes nothing.

14. Do not worry that you are going to fast.

Some things take more time than others. Some people move and work at a fast pace. If you are making too many mistakes slow down. Work at the pace that is best for you.

15. Stop thinking that you made a mistake.

If you made mistakes, correct the ones that you can. If it can’t be corrected learn from it. Most mistakes are small things in the long run. What is the lesson you needed to learn? The more you try to accomplish the greater the risk that some things will not work out. Do not think of these less than perfect outcomes as mistakes. They are learning opportunities.

16. Avoid worrying about money.

Worrying about money does make more of it. Somehow those with little money get by and those with a lot never seem to have enough. If you have money problems work on ways to spend less, stretch what you have further and make more.

Worrying is wasted effort. Learn all you can about money and finances. Do not be misled into thinking that if you just had more money your troubles would disappear. You would still have problems they would just be different problems.

17. Avoid the thought that there is something wrong with you.

You are fine just the way you are. If you have medical or psychiatric concerns see a doctor or a therapist. If you have legal or financial issues see a professional in that field.

Learn to accept yourself the way you are and then work on becoming a better more skilled person.

18. Don’t worry that you do not have the best things.

People who judge you based on the things you have are shallow people. Judging yourself that way will make you shallow. The more you have, the farther away the goal of having the “best things” moves.

There is no end to the things people think they need and then tomorrow those things are passé.

Anyone out there jealous of my collection of 8 track cassettes and 8-inch floppy diskettes?

19. Stop thinking that your opinion is wrong.

You have the right to your opinion. You also have the right to sometimes be wrong. Accept that no one is right all the time.

When making decisions and taking actions consider the possibility that you could be wrong. When you get new information or situations change reconsider your opinion.

Do not beat yourself up for having had an incorrect opinion and especially do not waste time on worrying that today’s opinion may be tomorrow’s error.

20. Stop worrying that people are taking advantage of you.

Be careful in your dealings. Do not assume others have your best interest at heart. Make sure you do things because you want to and they are right for you.

Once you make those decisions do not worry if someone else is getting something out of your interaction.

Reserve the right to periodically reevaluate things and change relationships as needed. Worrying will not protect you from being taken advantage of. Careful research and good advice will help here.

21. Do not worry that others are better than you.

There will always be someone better than everyone else. Records only stand so long and then someone breaks them.

You can’t be the best at everything. You may not be the best at anything. Work on being the best you can be and accept that if you approve of yourself then what you do will be good enough.

22. Don’t worry that you are out of time.

Time keeps moving forward. Make the best of what you have and then let it go. Worry that you are out of time waists some of the precious time you do have.

23. The things you want will never happen.

If they did happen then you would only want more. Some things we want happened and some do not. In retrospect, as we grow older, some of the things we wanted in the past we become glad never happened.

There are 23 different things that you could worry about, but why would you? Stop worrying about as many of these things as you can and see if your life does not become happier and more productive.

Are there other things you have found that you no longer need to worry about.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two 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.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

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. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.