Rethink the Usefulness of Worrying
“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength.” — Corrie ten Boom
Whether you have known all along that you believe worrying is useful, or just learned that you do, it is worthwhile to think carefully about whether your worries are really helping you in the ways that you think they are. Here are some questions that you can ask yourself:
Worrying shows I am a caring person.
- Do I know caring people who don’t worry as much as I do?
- What else besides worrying shows that I care?
- If I care about something, what actions can I take to show this instead of worrying?
Worrying helps me to solve problems.
- Am I spinning my wheels by going over my problem again and again by worrying, or am I actually doing something to solve it? (For example, worrying about not knowing how to handle a newborn versus reading helpful books or attending a baby care class.)
- Do I know people who are organized and prepared but don’t worry as much as I do?
Worrying motivates me.
- Am I confusing worrying with actually doing something about my problem?
- Am I really more motivated when I worry?
- Does my worrying get me so anxious, I actually get very little done?
- Has worrying ever prevented me from doing the things I actually want or need to do?
Worrying protects me from feeling bad later.
- If something bad did happen, would worrying really help me be less upset?
- When something bad has happened in my life, was I really more prepared to deal with it because I worried about it beforehand?
- How does worrying make me feel? How upset am I feeling now because I am worrying?
Worrying prevents bad things from happening.
- Has anything bad ever happened in my life even though I worried about it?
- Can I test how much worrying prevents bad things from happening by worrying one day and then NOT worrying the next day, and seeing what actually happens on those days?
You may also want to ask yourself: What has worrying cost me?
- Has worrying affected your relationships? Are people sometimes annoyed with you or concerned about you for worrying so much?
- How much time, effort, and energy do you spend worrying? Is it worth it?
- Has worrying affected you physically? Are you tense all the time, often tired, or do you have trouble sleeping because of your worries?
- What else could you be doing with the time and energy you are spending on having the same worries over and over?
Is it possible to get the same result some other way?
For example, can you be a caring mother and not constantly worry? Can you be organized, prepared, and motivated without worrying all the time?
If you are convinced your worries are not helpful then you can learn new skills to manage your worrying. Check out Managing Worry for tips on managing excessive worrying.