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5 min read

Am I Worrying Too Much? Plus, 5 Tips to Help

Key Takeaways:

  • Worry can be a healthy emotion, but too much of it may be unnecessary and unhealthy.
  • Excessive worry can cause debilitating symptoms, both mentally and physically.
  • Therapy, medication, and support groups can all help reduce worry back to healthy levels.

Everyone worries. We worry about money, love, friendship, and careers. It happens every day to pretty much everyone on the planet.

We worry because we care, which is a good thing. Worry reminds us that there are things to take care of, to focus on, and to prioritize. But there comes a point in this important aspect of the human emotional landscape that might be considered excessive worrying.

But how do we know when worry changes from an important emotional function to a debilitating and distressing problem?

Let's find out.

Here's what we'll cover in this article:

Is constant worrying normal?

Is worrying bad for you?

How do I stop worrying so much?

Anxiety Therapy in Brooklyn: Williamsburg Therapy Group

Is constant worrying normal?

Not at all, and it may even be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder.

If you're a constant worrier, your first step (assuming that's your only concern and it's not coupled with anything physical) should be to talk to a therapist.

A professional therapist may be able to determine whether your constant worry is the result of a life circumstance, or if your brain chemistry is off. Note that constant worry, even if it's just about your life circumstances, is still a mental health concern, and addressing it is very important.

For many, constant worry creeps up on them. You start worrying more often about a particular aspect of your life, and over time it develops into a more chronic, far broader worry.

When this happens, it can be easy to assume you're just a worry-wart, whatever that is, and that it'll get better on its own. Sure, it's possible - but there's also a good chance your worry about life circumstances can turn into genuine anxiety.

Bottom line, being constantly worried is not normal. You should talk to a professional about your options for treatment. Excessive worrying can totally wipe out every other emotion (like happiness, gratitude, and pride - all the good stuff), so don't hesitate.

Definition Template (5)-1

Is worrying bad for you?

Normal levels of worrying aren't, but constant and excessive worrying absolutely can be bad for your physical health.

Worrying releases cortisol into your system, which is a stress hormone responsible in normal amounts for preparing your body for a fight or a quick retreat. In excessive amounts, it can create problems with just about every physical aspect of life:

  • Digestion
  • Sleep
  • Muscle tension
  • Sweating

Cortisol even affects your mood, which is why excessive worriers are often irritable or "hot-tempered."

A little worry is important, but too much prevents you from feeling as good as you deserve.

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How do I stop worrying so much?

Assuming your constant worry isn't actually an anxiety disorder, there are a few things you can do to try to reduce it.

Organize your day-to-day life.

Sometimes, excessive worrying comes from a place of mental disorganization and clutter.

In this modern life, we all have a thousand and one things that we need to take care of that we just don't have time to get to at this very moment. This stuff can build up over time and create a sort of "fog" of worry: How can I relax when my future is an undulating mass of doctor’s appointments and work trips?

Doing a brain-dump is akin to decluttering your house. You take things out of the fog and put them somewhere permanent and external, like a notebook or schedule. Do that enough, and the fog might begin to clear.

Here's how to organize your to-dos:

First, take a piece of paper and a pen (or a Google Doc) and write down everything that's obviously urgent (or that has a "due-date") and important - the presentation at work tomorrow, your friend's wedding next week, and that weird noise your car is making that you need to investigate. Circle the list and write "Priority 1" over it.

Do the same with stuff that's not urgent (or will be recurring) but that is important: Schedule an appointment for an annual physical, talk to your boss about a raise, and get back in the gym. Circle it. Priority 2.

Finally, analyze your weekly routine and find gaps where you're not "on duty." For example, Tuesdays and Thursdays after 5 p.m. Block out time on those days such that you have about an hour of "check-off" time. It's important to maintain free time where you can relax; no sense in replacing worry with stress and pressure.

Start sliding your Priority 1 items into these slots (or marking them within your daily routine for their scheduled time, like for a work presentation.)

Then, take Priority 2 items and put them where they fit. For example, maybe you reserve Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. to schedule your physical and call around for gym membership pricing.

The goal here is to incorporate what worries you into a predictable schedule. Add just a little bit of work to your schedule for the next few weeks so that, by the end of the month, your to-do list has shrunk. Do this as needed, and you might find yourself worrying less and getting more done!

Zoom out.

Excessive worry can also mean worrying about stuff that, if we're honest, don't really warrant any emotional reaction, let alone one of the most distressing.

For example, many big-time worriers feel distress about other people's opinions of them. But to be honest, people have opinions about other people way less often - and in way less detail - than most imagine.

Unless you're actively causing distress or harm to others, the way you dress, act, and speak is your own! Obviously, "just not worrying about it" is much easier said than done, so enlisting the help of a therapist might be the best next step.

Breath.

Taking deep breaths feeds more oxygen to your brain and improves its ability to calm you down.

Breathe in for 5 seconds, and then out for 5 seconds, and you might feel a bit better. It won't address the root cause of your worry, but it can help reduce distress, and it takes 10 seconds, so it's not a bad tool to have.

Be kind to yourself.

Often, excessive worry is the result of overly-restrictive and overly-judgmental standards that you may hold yourself to.

Maybe you set a goal to get promoted in Q1, and it's March 17th with no hint of accomplishing it. Or maybe you want to lose weight but, last night, that bag of M&Ms in your pantry was just too tempting. That can cause a lot of worry, even though it's a purely internal expectation.

Ambition is an important value for many people, so we're not saying you should erase it entirely. But treat yourself as you would an equally ambitious friend. You wouldn't say half the things to them that you're likely saying to yourself.

Get help from a professional.

Finally, and most crucially, getting help from a licensed therapist is a great way to gain specific insight into your situation.

Only a professional can truly understand what's going on in your head, and work with you on a plan to improve it.

Anxiety Therapy in Brooklyn: Williamsburg Therapy Group

If you're an excessive worrier, our team of anxiety therapists is here to help.

Located in the William Vale Hotel, our practice isn't just a therapy office. It's a unique collective of exclusively doctoral-level psychologists and therapists - all provided in a peaceful, high-quality therapeutic space.

The most important aspect of therapy is trust and rapport, and beyond our unparalleled clinical expertise, that's what we specialize in.

Give us a call to have our dedicated patient coordinator find the right therapist for you. Feeling better may be closer than you think.

Book a Therapy Session in Brooklyn Today

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