Is worry a mental health condition?
Everyone experiences worry, but unrelenting worry that makes it hard for you to focus, sleep, or find enjoyment in life may be a sign of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD is a relatively new diagnosis. This, coupled with the fact that worry is a common part of life, discourages the majority of people from getting treatment. However, excessive worry can be exhausting, and it’s important to seek help if worry has become a major part of your life.
Is worry useful?
Sometimes worriers don’t seek help because they feel that worry plays a useful role in their lives. Some people believe that worry helps them prepare for a negative outcome, motivates them to do better, or shows others that they care. However, current research demonstrates that worry does not make it easier to deal with negative events, nor does it appear to have any other benefits.
Ways to reduce worry
Do some realty testing. Studies have shown that most of our worries never come to pass. Not only that, but people are often more resilient than they believe, and when negative events happen, most people are able to find ways to cope. Think about past worries you’ve had and the degree to which they actually ended up coming true.
Develop problem-solving skills. Rather than worrying about a problem, use problem-solving to tackle the issue. By defining the difficulty, coming up with solutions, and choosing a course of action, you can give yourself power over the things that worry you.
Try new things. Exposing yourself to the unknown may cause a brief spike in anxiety, but by repeatedly exposing yourself to uncertainty in small doses you can learn to better tolerate things that are new and different, thereby reducing worry.
If you feel that you need professional guidance to help you reduce worry in your life, contact our office to set up an appointment with one of our therapists. No one should have to live with debilitating worry, and we can help you develop strategies to reduce worry and feel more happy, calm, and optimistic.