At times, worry can be beneficial by serving as an adaptive function that helps us plan, prepare and problem-solve. Worry, however, can easily become unhelpful and here are some signs that this is the case:
- Worrying about things that most other people don’t find troubling (such as the lawn needing mowed)
- Worrying about things others do worry about (such as the safety of your loved ones), but in a more prolonged or exaggerated way
- Having difficulty when trying to control worry
- Spending a lot of time worrying about a problem without reaching a solution
- Believing that worrying prevents negative events from occurring
- Worrying about not being worried
- Believing that your worry will “drive you crazy”
If you identified with most of the signs above, you’re probably dealing with excessive worry, which is a feature of Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
According to Dr. Michelle Craske and Dr. David Barlow—renowned for their research and treatment of anxiety and worry—several underlying beliefs are associated with chronic worry:
- Perfectionism: The philosophy that mistakes in any area of life are unacceptable and that making mistakes indicates a person’s incompetence in managing life
- Controllability: The notion that worry is a way of gaining control and preventing negative outcomes from occurring
- Negative associations with worry: The belief that worrying itself will cause you to “go crazy”
- Responsibility: The belief that you are obligated to worry about all negative possibilities and failing to do so would mean you are irresponsible
These beliefs, unfortunately, maintain the cycle of anxiety. The good news is that recognizing these beliefs is a positive first step in learning to manage chronic worry.
If you are struggling with excessive worry, the professionals at Travco Behavioral Health can help. Contact us today!