Learn to Conquer Obsessive Worry


Everyone worries in life… In your personal life, you are worried about doing the best job you can as a parent and seeing your children grow up healthy and to be successful. In your professional life, you may worry about completing a report to your management’s expectations and satisfaction or adequately researching in advance of a client presentation. Everyone worries – and to some extent, worrying is healthy; it’s a sign that you care and are invested and can even help you to push yourself to improve and learn new capabilities. However, there are limitations to healthy worrying as worrying can also become an obsessive habit.

You find yourself unable to sleep at night, your mind continually running about what could happen or what might be wrong. You start to make mistakes due to your concern over doing things the wrong way – you find that the things you are worried about are happening in increased frequency as you try to prevent them from happening in the first place. And then you find yourself worrying about how much you’re worrying. Yes, worrying about worrying – we get it and you’re not alone.

But how do you stop the pattern of obsessive worrying and return to healthy levels of concern and productivity? And when exactly does worrying become an obsessive problem?

About Obsessive Worrying

Obsessive worrying is, in and of itself, not typically recognized as a classified disorder – however, it often serves as a symptom or pre-cursor of another disorder, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder or an anxiety disorder.

Often times, obsessive worrying behaviors evolve overtime, unlike other troubles which often occur as a result of a trigger action. For example, you might find yourself weighing the potential various outcomes of a decision in an effort to make the best decision possible. This behavior is healthy – and even smart and encouraged. However, as stress builds and the impact of your decisions grow, some people find that they spend more and more time worrying about the various incomes and eventually become incapable of actually making the decision as their worrying and evaluation becomes obsessive.

Obsessive worrying can be particularly debilitating in a professional environment as it has a tendency to delay progress and to accompany other undesirable behaviors, such as extreme nervousness, being high strung, and an inability to make a decision or lead a team. Personally, it can erode relationships either directly because of one’s anxiety about a particular person or relationship or indirectly as obsessive worrying behaviors grow a nuisance to those surrounding the person experiencing the obsessive worrying.

Unfortunately, if left untreated, obsessive worrying is a spiraling behavior that often only grows worse over time.

Treating Obsessive Worry Behaviors

There are several forms of treatment available, though working verbally with a therapist is one of the most popular.

For some people, this can be as simple as learning exercises, such as deep breathing to calm down or how to put things in perspective. However, for others, their obsessive worrying behaviors may be too severe and debilitating to stop mid-episode to calm themselves down or shift their behavior.

There are medicinal treatments available, though, as ever, they are often recommended only after other courses of treatment have been attempted and thoroughly explored.

The first step is to recognize that your worrying is not “standard” and that you have a problem – the next step is to recognize that you need help conquering that problem.

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