Why do I worry?

Why do I worry?

What is worry?

Worry involves thoughts and images that predict negative outcomes. It is often about future events or situations that are uncertain, and involves thinking about these things in a way that causes anxiety. Worry can be about real life events or about hypothetical problems and often involves many ‘what if..’ type thoughts, for example ‘what if I fail the test’, or ‘what if I left the iron on’.  Worry can be triggered by external cues, but also may appear to simply pop into your mind without an identified trigger. 

Worries often involve a sense of catastrophic thinking about what might happen and thoughts about the worst-case scenario. Worries are often created by our minds and in many cases tend to not pan out, particularly not in the catastrophic way that worry can predict. 

Although it can be our mind’s way of attempting to solve a future problem, it can cause us distress and lack of engagement in the present. 

Some normal worry occurs in people from time to time, is generally short-lived and can be our minds way of thinking ahead. However, excessive and persistent worry can interfere with our daily life, stop us from making decisions or taking action, and cause physical anxiety symptoms. Worry that is frequent and difficult to control can indicate generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). In GAD, worry is often about a range of daily situations such as work, family and health and also involves a range of physical and emotional symptoms. 


What maintains worry? 

People often have thoughts about worry that can serve to maintain worry as a mental process. Some people may hold negative beliefs about worry where they become concerned about their worry because they believe it to be uncontrollable or harmful, which causes increased anxiety and stress, which further maintains the worry. 

Others may hold positive (but false) beliefs about worry, such as believing that worry helps them anticipate and prepare for what could go wrong. Others may believe that it helps them to prevent bad things from happening or motivate them to get things done. Holding these positive beliefs reinforces worry and does not promote more effective strategies to manage any concerns or difficulties. 

Tips for managing worry 

Frequent and persistent worry can impact on our daily functioning and wellbeing. It is important to develop strategies to manage worries when they are triggered. Some strategies to assist in managing worry include:

  • Relaxation strategies
  • Problem solving skills
  • Challenging beliefs that maintain worry 
  • Strategies to sit with uncertainty
  • Mindfulness and mediation to engage in a more present focus 


Seeking Help 

Experiencing frequent and persistent worry can take its toll. Speaking to a mental health professional can assist in understanding your triggers to worry and factors that maintain worry. It is important to develop tools to manage and reduce the impact of worry on your functioning to improve your wellbeing. Please contact us at Prosper Health Collective on 6381 0071 for further information or if we can assist you with managing worry.

Julia Fraser

Julia is a counselling Psychologist with experience working in a variety of environments including schools and private practice.