Is the fear of the unknown ruining your life?

What do you fear

Fear.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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

Under stress, humans may revert to primitive defense mechanisms.

These are undoubtedly stressful, uncertain times. Would it be wonderful if we knew what to do and how to get control of our lives back? Some of the things people do to cope with uncertainty can be helpful. Efforts to control the uncontrollable can hurt you and damage your relationships. Have you moved into any of these unhelpful ways of coping with uncertainty?

When under stress, some people freeze. They’re unable to act. Other people flee or run away from their problems. People who are full of fear become irritable and are more likely to get into both verbal and physical fights. As the fear levels have grown through the recent Covid-19 pandemic, fights both verbal and physical, have increased.

Have you gotten into fear? Is it damaging your life?

Here are some of the ways that fear may be taking over your life, damaging your relationships, and impairing your mental health.

Do you try to control everything people around you do?

Micromanaging, checking every possible thing people around you do, can give you a false sense of security. Trying to control the things your family does can result in damaging relationships. Micromanaging at work can interfere with getting the job done. The more effort you put into controlling other people, the more out of control your own life can become.

Taking over the tasks of others may keep you busy and distracted from your fears, but trying to reestablish a feeling of control by doing everything alienates others and put you at risk of burnout.

Constantly seeking reassurance interferes with taking action.

Continually seeking reassurance from those around you makes you seem needy and helpless. Do you repeatedly ask family and friends what you should do? Do you check and recheck articles online? Is your time on social media crowding out the rest of your life? All this effort to reassure yourself you’re making the right decision will interfere with your ability to ever decide. Don’t let your fears of uncertainty keep you paralyzed with indecision.

Have you become a chronic procrastinator?

Procrastination is a way of not making a choice. If you procrastinate long enough, you’ll never take action. When you’re faced with a decision, do you try to put that off as long as possible? Procrastinating uses up a lot of your time, and there may be penalties for failing to do what you should have done. Don’t let fear rob you of your ability to decide.

Do you recheck everything?

Rechecking some things may be necessary. But if you develop the pattern of chronically rechecking everything, your fears are destroying your self-confidence. If your need to recheck is out of control, you may be developing a mental health problem known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. OCD should not be confused with having the desire to have everything the way you want it. Once you’ve developed OCD, you find you can’t resist checking. If your fear has resulted in rituals, checking everything a particular number of times, it’s time to seek professional help.

Have you become a chronic worrier?

Worry has its place in our lives. Worry in its milder form concern is the habit of re-examining what we are doing to make sure we plan for significant risks. Useful worry is sometimes called “good enough worrying” you worry about high probability events and prepare for them.

Chronic worriers adopt the worry model of worry about every possible outcome. If you choose this model, there’s no end to the worrying. No matter how remote the possibility, you still need to worry about it. Have you stocked up on garlic in case of vampires? Chronic worrier’s take things to extreme lengths in the belief that if they worry about everything, they will prevent bad things from happening. Worrying doesn’t stop them from happening. Taking action and preparing for potential emergencies does help.

How have your fears been ruining your life?

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six 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.

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead: The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

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 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

Books are now available on Amazon.

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.

Do you worry too much?

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

Man worrying,

Do you worry too much?
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Not everyone means the same thing when they say they worry.

Pretty much everyone “worries” at one time or another. When some people say worry, they mean they are concerned about something. People worry about having enough money for retirement, and that may motivate them to save more. It’s reasonable to be concerned and take action if you don’t have money or a job. People who are high in anxiety may worry unreasonably about everything. If you worry repetitively, and you worry about things that have a low probability of happening, you may be suffering from a serious mental illness called Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

Worry means more than just being concerned about something.

Dictionary definitions for the word worry include to give way to anxiety or unease, to dwell on one’s difficulties or troubles, a state of anxiety or uncertainty about one’s troubles, either actual or potential. Problematic worry involves worrying excessively about your problems rather than taking action to solve them or spending a great deal of time thinking about possible problems in the future even when the chances that will come to pass are very small. Ruminating about the future can make you more anxious and results in mental health problems.

Some worry is normal.

Doubts, worries, and anxieties are normal. Being concerned about something, having a real worry or anxiety, should motivate you to take action to prepare for possible negative outcomes. Buying insurance is one way of reducing your worries.

Worry and Anxiety can become your friends or your enemies.

How worry and anxiety affect you depends on your stress mindset. We all experience some stress before a novel experience. Going for a job interview, giving a speech, and athletic competition, taking a test, or a first date, can all be stressful. Some people interpret the butterflies in their stomach as excitement and the second themselves up to do better. Other people become so anxious they avoid these kinds of situations.

How can you tell if you’re worrying too much?

Constant or excessive worry takes its toll on your physical and emotional health. Worry can interfere with your sleep and your ability to relax. If you’re not able to rest up between episodes of stress, you’re at high risk of developing burnout. Uncontrolled excessive worry can leave you unable to cope with life.

One sign of excessive worry is having constant negative, unhelpful thoughts. If worry becomes persistent, you’re worrying too much. People with uncontrolled worry begin to worry about every possible what-if.

Using drugs and alcohol to treat worry makes it worse.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that alcohol or drugs can help you cope with worry and anxiety. Unfortunately, substances only work for a very short time. Once the alcohol wears off you will experience rebound anxiety, which will be stronger than before. Using substances may help you forget about your worries temporarily, but they will interfere with your ability to take action to solve those problems.

Unexplained physical ailments are a sign your worry is out of control.

Worry leads to anxiety, and anxiety leads to a host of physical ailments. Excessive worry is a common cause of tension headaches. Worry can also lead to gastrointestinal difficulties, both constipation, and diarrhea. Worry increases the stress hormones in your bloodstream. If you’re in real physical danger and need to run for your life those stress hormones can be useful. But if your worry is creating those stress hormones, you’re going to feel it everywhere in your body.

People worry excessively are more likely to experience muscle aches and pains even when they haven’t used those muscles. Worry can also impair your concentration leading to poor performance at school or work. Worry leads to irritability, which can damage your relationships with family, friends, and coworkers.

You can learn to control your worrying.

Somehow you learn to worry, and you learn to stop worrying so much. Changing the way you think about worry, and eliminating unhelpful thoughts will reduce your worry. If worry is impairing your happiness or making you sick you may want to work with a counselor who can teach you techniques to reduce unnecessary worries.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Six David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Dark Family Secrets: Some family secrets can be deadly.

What if your family secrets put you in danger?

Letters from the Dead The third in the Arthur Mitchell mystery series.

What would you do if you found a letter to a detective describing a crime and you knew the writer and detective were dead?

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 Plutus mystery.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive?

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.

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

Books are now available on Amazon.

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.