Chronic Worrying – When Controlling Gets Out of Control

We all worry. Sometimes it’s good to worry because it helps us to problem solve or avoid trouble in the first place. But when does worrying become unhealthy?  It’s a good question because according to leading experts 19 million Americans are “chronic worriers”.

 

Dr. Borkovec who developed the Penn State Worry Questionnaire defines unhealthy worrying by three main components: overthinking, avoidance of negative outcomes and inhibition of emotions. Basically chronic worrying stems from a craving for a sense of control, yet that is something worriers can never really find.

 

Sadly, by trying to be ready for the worst, worriers are actually compromising their body’s ability to react to a real crisis. Too much time worrying undermines the body’s ability to react to stress. Not only that, it also weakens the cardiovascular system and disrupts normal emotional functioning.

 

So what’s a worrier to do? The first step is identifying whether your worry is really productive.  Will worrying help you find a practical solution to your problem? If the answer is no, then you’re damaging your emotional and physical health if you continue fretting.

 

More insight can help you manage your worries and cope with the stresses of everyday life. Follow these links for more advice on coping with stress and anxiety. One more note, cognitive-behavior therapy can be a very effective treatment. If you’re having difficulty getting worries under control talk to a mental health professional and get some help.

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