With everything that’s going on, many people worry about various things—personal matters, finances, politics, family issues, and so much more.
Although a lot of individuals have a hard time getting their worries out of their heads, experts tell us that worrying is actually a waste of time.
Table of Contents
- Excessive worry steals us away from the moment and robs us of our ability to fully engage with our present
- Worrying is a waste of time because it doesn’t solve anything, and often, we worry unnecessarily
- Worrying is a waste of time because it does nothing productive
- When we think about all of the ways we worry, only a small portion of the time we spend worrying is productive.
- Worrying becomes a waste of time when we dwell on things we cannot control
- If we note the worry and then find an opportunity to take action then the worry has appropriately done its job
- Worrying rarely produces a solution
- Worrying will never guarantee the future
- Worry consumes us and turns into overthinking
- Habitual worrying are almost always accompanied by catastrophic predictions
- Worrying is one of those worthless things that accomplish nothing and creates fear.
- Worrying increases stress and create a thick emotional and cognitive fog, preventing you from seeing the reality clearly
- Worrying is a waste of time because worrying itself is your mind’s attempt to deal with an imaginary future situation
- Worrying is definitely a waste of time because it gets you stuck
- Worry doesn’t really help you find a solution or make real change
- Worrying focuses your attention on what might happen and it takes away your awareness of what is actually happening
- Worry is using your own imagination against yourself
- Worry is your brain’s ineffective attempt at problem-solving
- Worrying increases the stress and anxiety levels
- Erma Bombeck said it best, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but gets you nowhere.”
- Our worry never helps anyone
- When we worry about the past or the future, we are no longer present
- Worry perpetuates more fear
- Worry not only wastes time, but it also wastes energy that could be used to solve the problem
- Worrying is bad for your heart
- Most of the things you worry about never happen
- Worrying wastes your time and clouds your judgment
- Spending time worrying about something doesn’t resolve anything
- Frequently Asked Questions
Dr. Benson Munyan
Licensed Clinical Psychologist | Director, Neurocove Behavioral Health, LLC
Excessive worry steals us away from the moment and robs us of our ability to fully engage with our present
While it’s often normal to experience some degree of worry about day to day things, worry can also become problematic. At its core, worry is emotional tension, often about something that either might or will happen in the future or something that has already happened.
In either instance, excessive worry steals us away from the moment and has an amazing ability to rob us of our ability to fully engage with our present.
Worrying about a minor disagreement that you had with a friend a week ago or obsessing about an exam that isn’t for another month pulls us away from what is happening right now, whether it’s work, family time, or just time relaxing.
Put another way, worrying too much is a lot like trying to navigate a crowded airport with large luggage; it’s heavy and makes everything much more cumbersome because we have to take it into consideration when navigating lines, escalators, or airports.
Simply put, it’s exhausting. There are lots of excellent skills that can be helpful in reducing anxiety.
Mindfulness is perhaps one of my favorites, not only because it’s effective and has a slew of wonderful benefits, but because it can be practiced even when we’re not anxious to enhance already positive experiences.
Mindfulness is the act of purposefully attending to the present situation, taking in all the little details around us, and acknowledging our situation and our reactions for whatever they are in a way that is nonjudgemental.
Often, we’re too hard on ourselves and beat ourselves up for being human, sometimes we can even become frustrated because our anxiety is difficult to manage! While that’s understandable, the effect is that we’re now battling anxiety as well as frustration. We’ve added one more bag to our cart at the airport, which isn’t helpful when we’re trying to feel better.
Mindfulness, by contrast, is a lot like dropping our bags for a minute so we can read our ticket and orient ourselves to our surroundings. One great training aid for Mindfulness is available on iOS and the Google Play Store, called Mindfulness Coach (I’m not affiliated with this app in any way, it’s just a great resource).
Worrying is a waste of time because it doesn’t solve anything, and often, we worry unnecessarily
Much of what we are worried about will never come to pass. When we worry, we are letting our imaginations run wild, conjuring up unlikely worst-case scenarios.
What we should be doing instead, is asking questions or taking action to improve the potential outcome, or reminding ourselves that we can’t control everything. Sometimes we just need to wait and see (and be okay with that).
It can be difficult to stop worrying, however, you should try to adjust your mindset to thwart this type of behavior. There are several ways that you can do so:
Work on changing your outlook to be more positive. When we expect good things to happen, they are more likely to happen and we’ll start to worry less.
Concentrate on building your confidence. If you believe in yourself, you will envision good things in your future and will be better able to cope with those things that don’t work out the way you want (cutting down on your overall propensity to worry).
Learn to embrace failure. A negative outcome is not always a bad thing- there is often a silver learning. We learn from our mistakes and a bad outcome often leads to something better. Get comfortable with things not working out right away and you will worry less.
Related: Overcoming Fear of Failure
T. Rob Winkler MA LP, RPT
Psychologist | Play Therapist | Owner, Playmore & Prosper
Anxiety is the most prevalent issue for kids, and remains largely untreated. I will give the short answer for how I help kids.
Worry comes to us from what I call a worry bully, and there are three ways to defeat the worry bully:
- Relax more often. This is our force field against the worry bully. It is impossible to be relaxed and worried at the same time.
- Learn to listen to the Logical Protector. The logical protector is the voice that wants us to be happy, safe, and fun
- Face our fears. This is what exposes the worry bully as a liar, and helps us ignore him in the future.
Worrying is a waste of time because it does nothing productive
Worry is an argument with our worry bully – notice we defeat the worry bully by not talking to him! We learn instead to have conversation with our logical protector.
The worry bully is not trying to help us! The worry bully keeps us stuck in a passive helpless position.
Our body is healthier and smarter when relaxed – worry releases stress chemicals that tighten and restrict our body and mind.
The logical protector is a problem solver and coping power – worry is problem-focused and drains our energy.
Our world of options and enjoyment expand when we go where worry wouldn’t allow – worry constrains and restricts our life, making it smaller all the time.
When we think about all of the ways we worry, only a small portion of the time we spend worrying is productive.
Think about worry in chunks – worry about past events (which we cannot change), worry about future events (which we cannot predict), and worry about others’ behavior (which we cannot control). What we are truly left with are what I call “right now” worries. Worries in which we can have an impact on the present.
If you focus on “right now” worries – you’re truly left with a small window. Ask yourself, What is my worry? And if your answer involves one of the former categories: past, present or someone else’s behavior – disregard it because there’s nothing you can do about it.
However, if you can identify one theme you can have an impact on NOW, then do it! And don’t fret, just dive in and address the worry, fear, or confusion it’s creating. You’ll not only feel better, you’ll be more productive.
Let me give you an example. If you’re at work (now) and worried about a fight you had with your partner (past) or stopping by the grocery store on your way home (future) or whether or not your colleague will get the report in on time (other’s behavior), then you are not fully present in the moment and losing productivity on the task at hand.
If you can reach out to your partner (now), jot down the list (now) or check in with your colleague (now), then do so! Otherwise, move on and focus on a task that will help you be most productive with your present time.
By doing this, you’ll stop borrowing worries from the future or robbing yourself of being in the present.
Jeremy Arzt, LMFT, MA
Clinical Director, The Edge Treatment Center
Worrying is a natural human experience that alerts us of a current or potential threat. In and of itself, it is not a waste of time if we know how to cope with it.
Worrying becomes a waste of time when we dwell on things we cannot control
Worrying becomes a waste of time when, instead of focusing on what we can do to eliminate that threat, we begin to ruminate on the things we cannot control. When our fears become all-consuming and paralyzing, it distracts us from what we can do in the present.
To prevent worry from becoming counterproductive, here are my two recommendations:
Take a pause and acknowledge that your feelings are valid. There are things you can do to help resolve your concern. Ground yourself in the present by taking a moment to check in with your body. Take a few deep breaths. Know that this too shall pass.
Start by setting the intention to shift away from your worries. Identify what in the present moment you have control of and one small step you can take to address your concern.
We gain confidence when we shift our mindset towards a solution. Tackling what we fear in this way also helps empower us to better manage our fears in the future.
In summary, worry begins to waste our time when we catastrophize rather than move towards solutions.
It is best to focus consciously on staying present and reflect on resolving our concerns. This approach gives us back the feeling of control and the confidence that we can solve the threat that our fears present.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist
I’d like to step back to the inception of worry. Why do we worry? Worrying plays an important role in survival in that it is how our brain sources and sifts through all possible outcomes in the face of a stressor.
Yes, worrying (which can also manifest as ruminating) can certainly take on a life of its own but it does have an important adaptive role in the day to day survival.
Enter our primal survival-based brain part called the Amygdala. The amygdala gets a lot of press for its role in flight, fight and freeze.
Additionally, I like to think about our amygdala, which is the key brain part informing the worry cycle, as each person’s personalized author in a chooses your own adventure story of doom.
The good news, though, is that when we take a step back and recognize the purpose of the worry – our brain prioritizing our survival and telling us all the fear-focused and worry inciting stories of doom and gloom in order to prepare us for the worst-case scenario.
Which takes us back to your initial query – why is worrying a waste of time. I posit that the initial data point of worry is actually exceptionally valuable and its what we do with that initial worrying concern that defines the overarching utility of worry.
If we note the worry and then find an opportunity to take action then the worry has appropriately done its job
Worry signals a possible downslide into feeling overwhelmed, out of control, and, in its worse case, helpless or even hopeless.
Utilizing worry as a data point towards action and thus a felt sense of agency is a core facet of resiliency.
Author | Attorney, Lawyer Lifeline | Mindfulness & Relationship Expert | Transformational Speaker
Worrying rarely produces a solution
Worry is defined as “causing anxiety about potential problems”. I like to define it as “mentally projecting negative outcomes into the future”.
The problem with worry is that it rarely produces a solution, it is the thinking over and over about what will go wrong. When we focus on the negative, that is all we will perceive.
The term “worry” is different from positive terms like “analyze”, “consider”, “plan”, “contemplate” or “reflect”. It is the focus on the negative outcome that differentiates the concept of worry from other mental action.
Due to the fact that we are not focusing on positive outcomes when we worry, it is a waste of time and simply mental masturbation.
Quite frankly, worry and anxiety are an addiction. It raises our adrenaline and cortisol levels and we “feel” something, usually that we are “doing” something when all we are doing is destructive thinking. It is useless.
Whenever you realize that you are worrying, focus on the terms “analyze” or “plan” for more positive outcomes. When you are planning vs. worrying, you are not wasting your time but are setting goals and actions contemplated to achieve success.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Worrying will never guarantee the future
We worry when we entertain a perceived threat to self. Worry is directed at controlling the future which we can’t really do. We worry because we want the future to turn out well, but we can’t guarantee it. We think that if we worry enough now, the future will be fine when we get to it, which is not the case.
What works is to know that you’ll be fine whatever happens, whether the future holds what you wanted or didn’t want to happen because you will make sure that you choose to be okay. Why would you choose otherwise?
It’s useful to distinguish between worrying and problem-solving. Anxiety and worrying because it takes place in our minds whereas problem-solving involves testing our ideas out in the world.
We can’t problem-solve exclusively in our minds, but need to actually cease anxious thinking long enough to take steps to resolve what’s making us anxious.
We worry because it makes us feel as if we’re not helpless and are reducing anxiety when it actually increases it. We worry to make things turn out right in the future—a vacation, marriage, job interview, which car to buy, etc. Since we can’t actually be in the future, worrying is the next best thing because it makes us feel as if we can control it.
Instead of focusing on an event that worries you, think past it and visualize how you will feel when it is over.
Say, you’re scheduled for an MRI, instead of worrying about how awful it will be, picture yourself being taken out of the machine, getting dressed, walking to your car, etc. Or, if you’re taking a test in school, imagine how relieved you’ll feel after the test and exactly what you will do when it’s over.
If you’re up for performance evaluation, visualize leaving your boss’s office, returning to your own, and calling a friend to share how it went. Never put attention on the event; think beyond it.
President, Giombetti Associates
Why Worry? We can’t help it. We are emotional beings, with emotional brains, who are conditioned to react emotionally to so many things in life we can’t help it.
What if we could? Or at least could be mindful of some things to remember and things to practice or avoid.
Worry consumes us and turns into overthinking
First, let’s explore what happens when we worry and the consequences of it. It consumes us; our thoughts, our actions, it interrupts sleep and it’s hard to let go of. Sleep has so much to do with overall health and has a significant impact on the energy you carry into your day. Do you want to continue to lose sleep?
It stops you from taking action. The worry turns into overthinking. You start to question everything. You imagine every possible side effect and downside of your decisions and actions. You constantly play the “what if” game.
Your anxiety builds and the more you worry and think about it, the bigger it becomes. Eventually, that anxiety is now an 800-pound gorilla you can’t keep well fed.
It leads to putting things off…procrastination. “Maybe if I just wait it will go away.” or, “maybe if I give this some more thought it won’t be so difficult to have this tough conversation.”
Inevitably, it just gets worse most of the time. Your ability to have a productive conversation with a person, after you’ve worried about it and put it off, has evaporated. The worst-case scenario, it breeds resentment.
You’ve held onto it for so long now, and your anxiety has been built up so much, you’ve analyzed it eight ways to Sunday, that you’ve now made up stories that may not be true.
It can also cause many of us to focus on the negative aspects of a person, an idea, or a project we just completed.
If we worry, if we procrastinate, if we consume ourselves with all those ‘what-if’s’, an opportunity has disappeared. We may not see what could be.
Get out of there. Trust your instinct. Have a tough conversation. Throw caution to the wind when the consequences of being wrong aren’t severe and most of the time they aren’t! Control what you can. Worrying usually won’t change the outcome.
A dear friend of ours said recently in regards to worry and the negative thoughts that come from it, related to her battle with cancer, “No matter how much I worry, it won’t change the outcome.”
There are things you can control and things you can’t….worry about what you can! Worry about what you’re going to do to fix this. Think about what you’re going to do to become a better version of yourself. Worry about the things that really matter.
Habitual worrying are almost always accompanied by catastrophic predictions
For many of us worrying has become habitual – the anxiety-provoking “what-if’s” that characterize this pattern of thought, accompanied by predictions of outcomes that are always catastrophic.
Becoming aware of this habit is key. First, we might ask ourselves about its origin. Perhaps we had a parent or another authority figure who exhibited this behavior, an agonizing role-model whose actions became contagious. Maybe our childhoods were chaotic and it’s hard to trust stability in our lives.
Whatever the origin, that was in the past. We’re someone else today, with added experiences and strengths. Change and growth are possible.
The next time you catch yourself worrying, write down your concerns. For each concern write a probability, possibility, and worst-case scenario of what might happen. Then write down how you might prevent the less favorable outcomes, or how you might cope if they occur.
“How can I prevent it? How can I handle it? What’s the best way? How have I handled similar situations in the past? What strengths can I call upon to see me through? What additional resources might I need?” are the type of questions to be asking. If x, then y. And just how likely will x actually be?
Once you’ve done this call in family, friends, and others you trust for support, as well. They may confirm there’s a true concern and offer additional options for coping with the situation, or reassure you that your fears are unwarranted.
If all else fails, get some professional help. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy -in which we learn to talk back to painful thoughts, like the “what-ifs”, much as a caring yet logical friend would do – is very effective in treating excessive worry and anxiety.
Don’t worry. Prepare. Create a more self-soothing habit of assessing, asking, and planning in a more positive way. Get additional support, if needed. Know that there is hope. Excessive worrying can be overcome.
Dr. J. Salim, DMD
A very wise thinker, Ostad Elahi, once said that “Everything worthwhile needs to either have a material benefit or a spiritual one; otherwise, it is worthless.”
Worrying is one of those worthless things that accomplish nothing and creates fear.
It will also paralyze you from taking the proper course of action. For you to accomplish your goals, you need to be at your optimal level of physical, psychological, and spiritual well-being. Worrying will undoubtedly take you out of that zone, decreasing the likelihood of accomplishing your objectives.
Worrying increases stress and create a thick emotional and cognitive fog, preventing you from seeing the reality clearly
It pushes you towards inaction or unwanted and fruitless actions. Instead of focusing on the task at hand with all your power, concentration, and might, you waste your time dwelling on outcomes that may never come true or on potential solutions that you will never implement out of fear of being wrong.
Worrying is purely a negative thought that impacts you at a preconscious level, in ways that maybe unbeknownst to you. As a result, it makes you your own worst enemy.
One needs to fight worrying at all costs and replace it with a fighter’s positive attitude of someone who is not afraid to fall. Someone who is fully aware of the long journey at hand and who recognizes there will be bumps and bruises along the way.
If you are fully committed to your goals and give them your utmost effort, there is nothing you can’t accomplish.
Author, “Cursed?: Why You Still Don’t Have the Relationship You Want and the 5 Cures That Can Transform Your Love Life” | Relationship Expert
Worrying is a waste of time because worrying itself is your mind’s attempt to deal with an imaginary future situation
Since you can only deal (cope) with an event that is happening now, in the present, it’s a waste of time to attempt to feel better by thinking about what may or may not happen in the future.
When the future situation you’re worried about comes into the present, that is the time that you can actually put your hands on it and do something about it, but not a moment before then.
As Eckhart Tolle says in the Power of Now, “You can always cope with the present, but you can never cope with the future.”
Worrying is also a waste of time because typically people only worry when they are attached to a certain outcome that they desire, believing they definitively know what would be best for themselves.
However, most situations in life that seem negative or undesirable are often not that way at all. Only a persons’ mind, attached to a specific outcome, thinking it is the only answer to their happiness or peace, makes a situation “bad” when it does not come to fruition the way they have planned.
Often, with some time, most situations show an equal upside. How many times have we thought something was terrible, losing a job or a break-up for instance, but resulted in a better, more positive situation later (a better job or happier relationship?) Worrying is often short-sited and unnecessary for this reason.
Worrying is definitely a waste of time because it gets you stuck
Thinking and rethinking a problem can feel like progress, but you’re not really doing anything. Suppose you’re worried because you’ve lost your job and can’t seem to find another one. When you worry about it, you’re just going around in circles in your mind.
This can easily inflate the problem as you discover hypotheticals to stress that is related to the original problem. (For instance, “What if I don’t have a job three months from now?” “How will I ever fund my retirement in 20 years?”)
Worry doesn’t really help you find a solution or make real change
That said, worry can be a signal that action is needed. So in that sense, just a little bit of worry can be helpful. When you take action, rather than just mulling things over endlessly, there’s hope you can actually solve your problem!
So back to the difficulty of finding a new job… The action could mean thinking outside the box and applying for positions in a different industry. It could mean going back to school. It might be a simple as making a plan, such as listing the names of people you know who can help you network.
Excessive worry may even push you toward action that simply gives you a break from worrying about a particular situation. Maybe you can’t think of any way to find a new job, so you go on a bike ride or read a book.
That break gives your subconscious time to work on the problem without troubling you. You can come back to it with a new perspective and new ideas, or at the very least, renewed mental energy to address it.
In essence, worrying is thinking about your problem. Taking action is doing something about it and moving toward a solution. So much better!
Rachel S. Heslin
Founder, The Fullness of Your Power | Author, “Navigating Life: 8 Different Strategies to Guide Your Way“
Worrying focuses your attention on what might happen and it takes away your awareness of what is actually happening
This is especially relevant in situations that are evolving quickly or involve a great amount of uncertainty. If you’re too caught up in your head worrying about everything that could go wrong, you might miss key information that could help you respond in a positive way.
Instead, review as many possible outcomes as you can come up with and attempt to develop contingency plans to deal with them. It may seem counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to cut down on a tendency to worry is to come to terms with your worst possible scenario.
This isn’t easy. It may take a lot of conscious attention, meditation, prayer, therapy, or other methods to accept your greatest fears. But the effort is worth it because once you make your peace with a possibility, it loses its power over you.
Once you have a mental list of ways to respond and have breathed your way through all the horrendous “What Ifs,” it will become much easier to be present in the moment.
By being more present and aware, you will be more able to take in and process what is happening around you so you can make better choices, increasing the chance of positive outcomes.
Personal Development Mentor
Worry is using your own imagination against yourself
When a person worries, they are typically thinking about something in the future that they don’t want to happen. It’s giving attention, and mental energy, to an event you hope will not occur.
Worry is not only a waste of mental energy, but takes the mind away from creating solutions for solving the imagined problem.
It places the mind in a negative emotional state that actually diminishes our ability to be practical or inventive. It robs us of our ability to deal with the very thing we fear.
It’s been said many times that people spend a lot of time and energy worrying about things that never happen.
The reason is that a mind firmly focused on a subject uses the power of the mental faculty of imagination to create a picture of the very thing it fears, so that it becomes more real.
And as we imagine a terrible thing that might happen, like contracting a fatal disease, the emotion of fear grows and triggers more thoughts of a similar nature. We get trapped in a vicious circle of negativity; of worry, doubt, trepidation and fear.
The mind begins to feed itself more of the same kind of thoughts that make us feel anxious.
There is nothing to gain from worrying about the future.
The legendary NBA player Michael Jordan said “Why would I worry about a shot I haven’t taken yet?” That idea that we should fear a future event that may never happen makes no logical sense.
Why worry about contracting a disease before you have symptoms? Deal with the problem or the moment when it happens, not before. You cannot cure an illness you do not have..
Instead, spend that mental energy creating a better future for yourself. Decide to make changes or improvements to your life that would prevent or alleviate the thing you fear.
If there is something genuine to worry about, what there is to do is first acknowledge the problem, and then make a plan to deal with it.
If it’s really worth worrying about, then it’s worth dealing with. If there is no imminent problem or danger, then worry will not solve anything. It will only cause anxiety to form in your mind.
And then you will have something to worry about. Because anxiety can lead to illness and disease.
Certified Applied Positive Psychology Coach, A Brighter Purpose
Worry is your brain’s ineffective attempt at problem-solving
The part of our brain responsible for worry (amygdala) was designed to keep us safe. Unfortunately, our brains don’t know the difference between real or imagined threats.
Our brains also experience worry as vividly as an actual threat if we allow snowball thinking to continue. Worry is absolutely a waste of time and energy. Shifting into a path that allows for effective, solution-focused thinking can shift a worrier into a warrior.
Thank your brain for trying to keep you safe, but also allow your brain to get you into action. Spending too much time with future thoughts can lead to anxiety.
Here are some steps to put into action today:
Increase self-awareness by setting a timer each hour and logging your thoughts for 2 minutes.
This enables you to attune to the 24-hour news ticker inside your worrier brain. Identify those worry thoughts.
Identify coping skills that will help your brain to utilize the prefrontal cortex (rational, thinking portion of the brain).
A great example is the 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. (See 5, Touch 4, Hear 3, smell 2, and taste 1). Coping skills enable us to get into the present moment and to remind ourselves that the current moment is safe.
Identify worry thoughts that are unhelpful.
Replace worry thoughts with helpful thoughts that are actionable. Creating a plan of action, gives agency over behavior, even when the outcome is uncertain.
We have approximately 86 million neurons available to us. The choice of which direction those neurons will face is up to us.
When we have the ability to zoom out from the emotional experience and to tune into the thoughts behind the experience, we can effectively create change. Using time for a plan of action is a much more efficient use of time and energy.
Co-Founder and COO, Synctuition
These days, a sense of worry lingers around us 24/7. We fear getting ill and worry about our family and friends’ safety. On top of this, we are also concerned about the stability of our jobs, the future of the economy, and countless other issues.
Worrying increases the stress and anxiety levels
The news and other media are constantly reminding us of the grim reality, mostly highlighting the negative. Understandably, stress, and anxiety levels are high. While worrying may seem like an inevitability, it is actually a waste of time.
Relaxation may seem like the direct opposite of work. It may seem impossible or even irresponsible to think about taking the time to relax when you have looming deadlines, meetings, and unfinished tasks.
However, true relaxation is rooted in the mind; it is the “offline” period where you can rest, recharge your batteries, and get the energy you need to continue performing at your best potential.
Rather than wasting time worrying, channeling that nervous energy and anxiety into relaxation will pay off in ways that add up to real-time benefits including increased productivity, mental acuity and improved immune response.
Writer | Teacher | Public Speaker
Erma Bombeck said it best, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but gets you nowhere.”
Worry serves no real purpose other than wasting valuable time and energy. Worry feeds indecision and indecision feeds worry, so ditch them both in favor of action. If you are worried about something that you can control, determine the steps that need to be taken, and get started.
But if it is not something you have the time and resources to tackle, such as a political situation or an environmental issue, do something physical because the action is the antidote to worry. Go for a walk or a run. Work up a sweat. Do something, and if that does not work, do something else.
Even when we are successful at warding off worry during the day, it has a way of surfacing during the dark, quiet of the night. So, cultivate a nightly ritual of making a list before bed of “Todays and To-dos”.
It is impossible to stop negative thoughts, but it is possible to stop paying attention to them and to stop acting on them. Another one of my habits from childhood is worrying.
All worrying is done in advance, and it is meant to prevent bad things from happening. This predictive power to avoid trouble is an illusion.
Our worry never helps anyone
While anxiety is a natural response to trauma, it is useless. It is a destructive negative fantasy. To be ever-vigilant of the possible hazards before we snatch away our power to leap.
When we have been traumatized, however, stopping worrying feels like we are risking our lives. We can only live fully by risking our lives over and over again.
Worrying reflects a lack of faith, especially worrying about money. It is like a drug—it sparks a chemical reaction inside us.
The danger is that worrying often provokes us to try to control something we cannot control, except by destroying or sabotaging. Then we make life predictably awful. This predictability fulfills our script needs and is thereby comforting, but again, it does not bring us joy.
Be brave enough to feel your fear and not reach for something to immediately alleviate it—be it a drug or behavior.
Certified Human Potential Coach | Founder, Unhustle
“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”Mark Twain
When we worry about the past or the future, we are no longer present
And the present moment is all we have. We allow anxiousness and worry to build up when in reality, we have little control of what the future holds and we can’t change the past. And as a result, worry turns out to be a waste of time, puts us in a bad mood, and wreaks havoc on our lives.
So why do we do it? Because our brain is designed to protect us from danger. We are always looking for ways to make sure we are safe – going back to our ancestors dealing with tigers in the jungle. This fear creates worry.
The only way to escape worrying and wasting time is to do things that take you out of your mind and put you more in your body – this is where exercise, spending time in nature, meditating, yoga, dancing, even shaking can ease the feelings of worry.
So stop wasting your time and start living.
Spiritual Life Coach | Energy Healer, Joy Healer
Worry perpetuates more fear
First of all, we need to understand what worry is. We all know that worry is the fear of possible negative expected outcomes. And fear just perpetuates more fear, so it will never help.
What’s important to recognize is that worry begins by asking fear-based questions. For example, “What if I don’t get investors for my project?”. “What if he/she leaves me?”. “What if I don’t get the money I need?” Your brain will come up with answers to your fear-based question.
Here are two simple yet incredibly powerful techniques to shift from worry and fear to love and security.
The key to shifting out of worry is to change the questions you ask. Ask instead, “Why am I joyously attracting all the money I need?” “Why am I attracting honest abundant amazing investors for my project?”
When you ask different questions, your brain will start to answer them. Love-based or abundance-based questions will shift you into a state of love and abundance.
Use a gratitude statement to be grateful in advance for bringing you what you want. “Thank you for my perfect investors for this project.” or “Thank you divine for my perfect investors.” Thank you for my easy flow of money and abundance.
Author | Meditation Coach
Worry not only wastes time, but it also wastes energy that could be used to solve the problem
The mind ruminates as a way to distract us from the thing we fear, but as it does so, it empties our mental fuel tank. Most of us know that. We feel it as it happens, but that won’t fix it. It’s easy to tell someone (even ourselves) not to worry, but asking someone to “snap out of it” usually doesn’t work.
Worry is a habit. Breaking it requires awareness and the willingness to face the unpleasant sensations that arise in the body at the prospect of facing that fear.
For some people, it requires therapy or other forms of intervention. I teach meditation as a way to notice and experience the negative sensations which cause worry. It takes a real change. You can’t just wish to worry away.
Resource Director, Test Prep Reviews
Worrying is bad for your heart
Stress and worry are among the main causes of heart disease which is the number one killer in America, taking the lives of more Americans than those who die from all cancers combined. Worrying can lead to high blood pressure, and stress which literally wears down your arteries and heart.
Most of the things you worry about never happen
According to psychologists, 85% of the things we worry about never happen. Our minds are hard-wired for negativity to keep us safe. Now that we know that, it is our job to let those worry thoughts go.
It is wise to pay attention to our gut feelings, to plan for things that can go wrong, but once you have done all you can, let your worry thoughts go and move on.
Worrying wastes your time and clouds your judgment
When we worry we can get caught up in a cycle of obsessive thinking. Our thoughts can cause stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline to be released in our body, causing inflammation and high blood pressure.
Then the amygdala, the part of our brain responsible for emotions, swells up and keeps us from thinking clearly. Once this cycle of worry starts, we must take action to calm ourselves down.
These are just a few ways that worry is unproductive, and a waste of time. How can you change the habit of worry? Make a list of things you can’t control that are worrying you, and then list the things you can control and take action on those.
When the worry thoughts pop in, do your best to stop them by thinking about what you can control, what you are grateful for, and what you can do to help yourself and others.
Certified Sleep Science Coach | Founder, Sleep Standards
Spending time worrying about something doesn’t resolve anything
Worrying is the most futile and worthless thing that a person can do because time is so precious that you can never get it back once you’ve lost it. Worrying is natural for humans, but overdoing it is another thing. Worrying prevents someone from being happy.
As a medical professional, I’ve met a lot of people who worry all the time. Most of them would say that they cannot control it but helping them recognize only when and what to worry about improves their condition.
We worry about a lot of things these days, but you have to keep in mind that you should never worry about the things that are not in existence. You should stop entertaining negative thoughts and start living your life. You should also stop getting worked up on things that are beyond your control.
Bear in mind that worrying is useless unless you can get to identify what the problem is or will be. There are a lot of ways to help you reduce your worries such as support groups, strategies, techniques, and if these options won’t work, try and seek professional help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is It Okay to Worry Sometimes?
Yes, it is okay to worry sometimes. Worrying is a normal and natural response to stress and uncertainty. It is a way for the mind to cope with and solve problems. However, excessive worry or anxiety can become problematic and interfere with daily life.
It is essential to understand the difference between normal and excessive worry. Normal worry is occasional and helps to prompt action to solve a problem. Excessive worry, on the other hand, is persistent and irrational and often leads to feelings of panic and distress.
What Is the Root Cause of Worry?
The root cause of worry can be traced to several underlying factors:
• Fear of the unknown: People often worry about things they cannot control, such as future events or outcomes. This fear of the unknown can trigger excessive worry and anxiety.
• Negative thought patterns: People with a tendency to worry may have negative thought patterns, such as catastrophizing, overgeneralizing, and filtering out positive information. These thought patterns can lead to a cycle of worry and anxiety.
• Childhood experiences: Early life experiences, such as trauma, abuse, or neglect, can impact a person’s ability to cope with stress and anxiety in adulthood.
• Genetics: Research has shown that there is a genetic component to anxiety and worry, indicating that some people may be predisposed to these emotions.
• Chronic stress: Chronic stress can lead to elevated levels of worry and anxiety. People who experience persistent stress from work, relationships, or other life demands may have difficulty managing worry and anxiety.
• Substance abuse: Substance abuse, such as alcohol or drugs, can increase worry and anxiety by altering brain chemistry and exacerbating underlying mental health issues.
Why Do Some People Worry More Than Others?
Worrying is a normal and natural part of human life. However, the degree of worrying varies from person to person. There are several reasons why some people worry more than others. Here are some of the most common reasons:
• Genetics: Studies have shown that the propensity to worry can be passed down from generation to generation through genetic factors. People with a family history of anxiety disorders are more likely to experience excessive worrying.
• Personality traits: People who are naturally anxious, introverted, and pessimistic are more prone to worrying. They tend to have negative thoughts and expect the worst possible outcome from a situation, leading them to worry more.
• Life experiences: Traumatic experiences such as abuse, neglect, or loss can increase the risk of developing anxiety and worry. People who have gone through such events may worry more as a way to cope with their feelings of fear and insecurity.
• Brain chemistry: Serotonin, a neurotransmitter that regulates mood and emotions, plays a role in worrying. People with lower levels of serotonin are more likely to experience excessive worrying.
• High-stress levels: People who experience high-stress levels in their daily lives tend to worry more. They may worry about their job, finances, relationships, and other life challenges, leading to increased anxiety levels.
• Perfectionism: People who are perfectionists may worry more as they hold themselves to high standards and are afraid of making mistakes.
What Are Some Practical Tips for Reducing Worrying?
• Challenge your thoughts: Worrying often starts with negative thoughts that are not based on facts. To reduce worrying, challenge these thoughts by asking yourself questions such as “Is this thought based on fact or just a fear?“, “What is the worst-case scenario, and how likely is it to happen?” and “What are the positive outcomes that could occur?”
• Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness involves being present in the moment and focusing on your thoughts, feelings, and sensations. By doing this, you can become more aware of your worries and take steps to reduce them.
• Keep a worry journal: Writing down your worries can help you process them and see patterns in your thinking. It can also help you prioritize which worries are most important to focus on and find solutions for.
• Practice relaxation techniques: Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, and yoga can help reduce stress and worry.
• Limit caffeine and alcohol: Both caffeine and alcohol can increase anxiety and worry, so it is essential to limit your intake of these substances.
• Get enough sleep: Lack of sleep can make it harder to manage stress and worry, so getting enough restful sleep each night is important.
• Exercise regularly: Exercise is a natural mood booster and can help reduce stress and worry.
• Connect with others: Talking to a friend, family member, or even a mental health professional can help you process your worries and find solutions.
• Limit exposure to news and social media: Excessive exposure to news and social media can increase anxiety and worry, so it’s essential to limit your exposure to these sources.
• Focus on what you can control: Instead of worrying about things you cannot control, focus on what you can control, such as your thoughts, feelings, and actions.
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