thoughtful man

Worrying?  Worrying too much?

If your worrying is too severe that it’s already affecting your quality of life, you probably are a chronic worrier. Worrying is natural and believe it or not – it’s important to your security and survival. The problem is that when your worrying becomes excessive, you increase your chances of developing anxiety disorder, depression and other mental illnesses.

Here are 10 signs that you are an excessive worrier:

You think you are born to be a worrier. Worries are not born, they are made. Excessive worrying is a habit that some people develop through traumatic experiences or major stressful events, or acquire from their parents or people around them.

When you worry, you think it’s going to happen. The truth is that most things people worry about don’t really happen.

You believe that worrying will prevent bad things from happening.  No. Worrying alone doesn’t prevent anything from happening – only action does. The problem is, according to the study of Graham C.L. Davey from The City University in London, chronic worriers tend to have very poor social problem-solving confidence so they are less likely to come up with the best solution to the obstacles they face.

You think that by worrying about others you are showing you care about them.  There’s nothing worse than knowing that someone is excessively worrying about you. If you are worried, let them know.

You feel anxious most of the time. Chronic worrying doesn’t give you peace of mind, rather anxiety and sense of chaos. These negative feelings are so severe that they are already interfering with your work and personal life.

You have trouble sleeping at night. Excessive worrying prevents your body from relaxing. As a result, you find it hard to fall asleep at night. Sleep problems are a known risk factor for many health problems, including heart disease, stroke and obesity.

You spend more time thinking about the problem than the solution. Most people make decisions based on their ‘instincts’. Not all issues or challenges you encounter every day need plenty of time to think through. Some answers are just right in front of you.

You think feeling anxious about something is an indication of a threat. The truth is that people can get anxious for many reasons – pain, fatigue, stress, lack of sleep, and physical illness. Just because you are feeling anxious doesn’t mean you are about to face a problem or a threat.

You feel responsible for the bad things that are happening around. Many people come to believe that they are somehow responsible for the bad things that happen and have the power to prevent these situations. But this feeling of ‘responsibility’ is what usually triggers chronic worrying. Whilst you have control over some things in your life, you don’t have control over most things.

You are a perfectionist. Many chronic worriers are perfectionists. They like to think through a worry until they have exhausted every possible problem and come up with the best solution. But the problem is that their standards are so high they tend to feel dissatisfied with the solutions they’ve obtained, so they end up worrying too much.

Excessive worrying can cause an imbalance in your life. But the good news is that

there are many ways to counter chronic worrying. Consider the following steps:

Talk to a therapist. Begin by assessing your level of worrying, including the triggers and causes. You can do this by seeking help from a professional therapist. Treatments like counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) are good venues to tackle your worry issues. Through psychological interventions, you can learn different coping strategies for the problems you encounter every day.

Exercise regularly. Exercise helps you ward off feelings of anxiety as well as the negative thoughts that fuel your worries. When you are physically active, your brain releases hormones that uplift your mood, boost your energy, and strengthen your immunity.

Learn to relax. You can activate your body’s relaxation response (a physiological state characterised by feelings of warmth, peace of mind and mental alertness) through deep breathing techniques, meditation, yoga, listening to calming music, etc.

Meditate. Practising meditation daily can help you overcome excessive worrying and improve your well-being. What’s more, it decreases your body’s stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) that are released when you are in the ‘fight or flight’ mode. High levels of stress hormones have been linked to a wide range of illnesses.

Let’s face it. We all worry at times. It’s our body’s natural response against perceived threats. But allowing our worries to take control of our life is not really helpful. If you think you are a chronic worrier, it’s time to take action today. Talk to your therapist and follow these recommended tips. Therapy becomes successful if you also work on getting better.

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