If you find yourself constantly worrying about all the things that could possibly go wrong and trying to find solutions to those hypothetical scenarios- you may find this post helpful.
Most things we do in our daily lives serve some sort of purpose, whether we are aware of it or not. Sometimes the purpose is positive, sometimes negative and sometimes it’s both. When working with clients who experience chronic worrying, I have heard it helps them “feel prepared”, “feel safe”, “feel secure”, “feel more comfortable,” among other things. While this may be true, many of us also experience negative effects from this type of worrying, mainly, increased negative thoughts, increased anxiety symptoms, and it takes a toll on our bodies (we may lose sleep, for example).
Worry can serve a positive purpose in our life; for example, it may serve as a motivator to study if you are worried about how you will do on a test. However, like many things, it can cross a line where it goes from being helpful, to being harmful (you are so worried, you cannot focus or study). For each of us, this threshold is different, and to identify it we must first be aware of the symptoms of anxiety we personally experience, and learn to notice them. When you notice these symptoms spiking, it may be a sign that this threshold was crossed for you.
I would like you to visualize that you are about to go on a run, hike or walk. It is a beautiful day outside- the air is crisp; the sun is out. You are energized and excited. Before you go, you grab one bottle of water, because it is reasonable to expect that you will get thirsty- so you prepare for this. Before you walk out, you go back to grab another one, because what if this one is not enough? Then another one, because what if you accidentally spill one of them? And on, and on, and on. Pretty soon, you are headed out with a backpack full of water bottles, weighing you down. You feel prepared. What else are you feeling? Are you comfortable? Are you feeling calm?
This begs the question- Is it worth being prepared for everything at, potentially, the expense of your mental and physical well-being? That is something only you can decide. Start by asking yourself:
If you answered yes to this last one, the following tips may help you manage chronic worry, thereby decreasing or preventing anxiety symptoms from getting worse.
Together, these tips can help you manage worry. As always, if you find that you are struggling to manage any of these symptoms on your own, consult with your primary care provider or mental health provider for additional support.