You May Be Addicted to Worry
Have you ever asked yourself “What if…?” and it is usually followed by what you presume to be the worst-case scenario?
You’re not alone.
The human experience can often bring challenges that can manifest as fear. We are programmed at an early age to be afraid of certain things in the world. We have always been told “Don’t talk to strangers,” “Don’t cross the street without looking both ways,” “You are going to get hurt,” or “Don’t walk alone at night.” It is no wonder that humans have been conditioned to survive by worry and skepticism.
The symptoms of a worry addiction are as follows:
- You’re depressed, concerned, and anxious about everything.
- You are surrounded by other worries.
- You distract yourself with movies, social media, or video games to escape the thoughts in your head.
- You wake up at night from your “mind chatter” and during the day your mind is constantly “noisy.”
- You often find yourself jumping to the worst-case scenario first.
- You use food, alcohol, or drugs to calm yourself down.
- Constant worrying is detrimental to your health due to the stress it puts on your body and can cause depression and aggravate other illnesses.
Worrying often starts with the most immediate concern, such as, “What if I lose my job.”
A worry addict then escalates to this:
- “If I lose my job, I can’t make my mortgage payments.”
- “If I can’t make my payments, my house will go into foreclosure.”
- “If my house forecloses, then I will lose everything.”
- “I’ll lose my spouse. He/she will divorce me and take what little I have left.”
- “If I get divorced, I’ll lose my kids.”
- “If I lose my kids, I would die. I would have no desire to live.”
So why is it that we are so full of worry? Subconsciously, we believe that worrying grants us a sense of control. It is this sense of control that worry gives us that people are addicted to. Worriers believe that by worrying, they can stop bad things from happening. When we worry that the worst-case scenario will come true, and it never does – we believe that because we worried, we stopped it!
However, rather than giving us control, worry prevents us from being present enough to make loving choices for ourselves. Worrying actually ends up giving us less control.
The human mind generates 50,000 to 70,000 thoughts per day. Unfortunately, many of these are filled with negativity, self-doubt, anxiety, and stress.
What would life be like without worry? How much more could you accomplish if you didn’t worry about the outcome?
Here are three steps you can take to begin breaking the worry cycle.
These questions will first and foremost take you to the worse place scenario. The second question brings you back to a place of neutrality and lastly, the third questions shows you what is possible and redirects the mind to positive thinking.
- Carry a piece of paper with the following questions on it and answer them when you start to worry. What is the worst-case scenario, or the worst possible outcome? Is most likely to happen? What is the best thing that could happen?
- Realize that in order to “worry,” it is something you have to actively do…a pattern of thought or a formula made up of three ingredients: The way you move your body, what you say to yourself, and what you focus on. Change the formula and you’ll change your results!
- Stop the intake of information that causes you to worry. This could come in the form of another person, social media, the news, etc.
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