Why you worry so much.

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

Man worrying,

Worried.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

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.

SasquatchWandering 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

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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.

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.