There is always something to worry about: money, career, bills, relationships, loss, illness, the future, etc. While these are valid concerns and a normal part of life, there is a point where excessive worry begins to negatively impact your physical and mental health. We worry because we are afraid that something bad will happen and think about all the “what if’s”. You may think, “What if I lose my job?”, “What if my family gets in a car accident?”, or “How can I prevent this from happening?”. Worrying can be a defense in situations that are maybe out of our hands and prevent us from living life in the moment. Over time, this kind of excessive worry can lead to anxiety, depression, fatigue, heart problems, and panic disorder. Below are a few ways to cope with excessive worry so you are able to enjoy life rather than worry it away.
Identify Your Worry
Sometimes we worry over something specific such as a deadline, argument, or illness, and sometimes we worry for the sake of worrying. The first thing to do when you find yourself worried is to make a list of things you are worried about. Identifying your worries helps put them into perspective and see what worries are valid and what are unproductive.
Control What You Can
On your list you may find a mix of both productive and unproductive worries. Weed out the ones you can do something about and try to let go of the others. Say you are worried about getting a project done on time. This is a productive worry because you can take action now to make it go away. You could make a checklist of what you have left to do, ask someone for help, or talk to your boss. Once you feel you have control over some things the worry seems to dissipate.
Prepare For Discomfort
While there are some worries you can control in the moment, there are also times when it feels like there is nothing you can do about them. A lot of our worries lie in what is unfamiliar, unknown, and uncomfortable. Many times we do everything in our power to avoid these things, but the growth comes in pushing through the discomfort. Sitting in the uncertainty and using healthy coping mechanisms such as journaling, talking, and exercise can help relieve your physical symptoms.
It is important to remind yourself that it is most likely not going to be as bad as you thought it was going to be. Those who tend to worry more get stuck in thinking about how “bad” or “terrible” something is going to be before it actually happens. Think about other times you were worried and it went better than expected versus what can go wrong.
If you are finding it difficult to control excessive worry and would like some support, it may be useful to connect with a therapist. Contact Symmetry Counseling at 312-578-9990 to set up an appointment with one of our very skilled therapists today!