Anxiety Technique: Rethinking the Usefulness of Worry

Worry is a big factor of Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which is what I have. We worry about everything. School, sickness, time, friends, to name a few. We constantly are thinking, about everything. I honestly don’t know how we sleep at night.

“There are two general types of worries:

  1. Worries about current problems (for example, ‘what if I don’t have enough money to pay the bills?’, ‘what if I don’t finish my report on time?’, ‘what if my argument with my friend means we never speak again?’)
  2. Worries about hypothetical situations (for example, ‘what if the flight I’m taking next month crashes?’; ‘what if I get a serious disease when I’m older?’)”
    (Anxiety BC, n.d.)

Most people with GAD think that worrying is actually beneficial and helpful.

Worrying shows that I am a caring person.
If you believe this, you might think, ‘because I worry about my family, it proves that I love and care about them’, or ‘people know me as the worrier; I’m the one who worries and cares for people’

“Worrying helps me to be prepared and to problem solve.
Examples of this belief include: ‘I do well at my job because I worry about things getting done right!’, and ‘when I worry about my problems, I am more likely to solve them well’

“Worrying motivates me.
If you believe this, then you might say to yourself, ‘worrying about my job motivates me to do well’, or ‘if I didn’t worry about my health, I would never go to the gym or eat right!’

“Worrying protects me from negative emotions.
If you believe this, then you probably think that worrying about bad things is like ‘money in the bank’; that is, if you worry about bad things now, you won’t be so upset if the bad thing actually happens. An example of this type of belief is, ‘If something bad happened to my family and I didn’t worry about it, it would come as a surprise, and I wouldn’t be able to handle it’

“Worrying prevents bad things from happening.
If you have this belief, you might think, ‘I always do well at my job because I worry about it; if I stopped worrying for a day, I would do very badly at my job’, or ‘if I worry about my family being in a car accident, then they won’t be in one'” (Anxiety BC, n.d.).

But we need to rethink if these benefits are actually useful and well, beneficial. We have to think about what would happen if we didn’t worry. Would the thing we’d worry about still happen if we didn’t worry?

Anxiety BC posted a chart of questions we should ask ourselves while rethinking the benefits of our worries:

Worry Beliefs Questions to Help you Rethink Your Beliefs
Worry shows I am a caring person
  • Do I know caring people who don’t worry as much as I do?
  • What else besides worry shows that I care?
Worry helps me to be prepared
  • Am I confusing worrying (in my head) with actually doing something (for example, actually solving problems rather than worrying about them)?
  • Do I know people who are organized and prepared who don’t worry as much as I do?
Worry motivates me
  • Am I really more motivated when I worry?
  • Has worrying ever actually prevented me from doing the things I want to do? (for example, worrying so much about being healthy that you actually avoid the gym?)
Worry protects me from negative emotions
  • If something bad did happen, would I really not be as upset?
  • Has anything bad ever happened in my life? Did I really feel more prepared to deal with it because I worried about it?
Worry prevents negative outcomes
  • Has anything bad happened in my life even though I worried about it?
  • Is there a way that I can test out my theory, by worrying one day and seeing what happens, and then not worrying another day?

(Anxiety BC, n.d.)

References

Anxiety BC. (n.d.). Self-Help Strategies for GAD. Anxiety BC. Retrieved from http://www.anxietybc.com/self-help/self-help-strategies-gad

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