I worry. I worry way too much. And I know I'm not the only one. I'm naturally good at it. I can't stop it. I need to stop it.
Most people do worry, and in some instances this can be positive or even productive i.e. if it prompts people to take precautions, such as buying insurance, wearing sun screen, wearing a condom, stopping smoking, eating healthier, drinking less or avoiding risky or dangerous behaviour altogether. This sort of worry is useful, has a purpose, it's sensible, valid, and reasonable. This isn't the type of worry that I am talking about.
No. I'm talking about that anxiety-laden-stress-related worry. I'm talking about that all-consuming, panic-inducing, terrifying kind of worry. When you let the irrational thoughts take over. I am talking about when levels of worrying can reach toxic levels. I am talking about when worry becomes extreme; when worrying reaches and becomes excessive. And not only excessive, but irrational. This is certainly not positive and not productive. Excessive worry is the main component of what is known as Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is an anxiety disorder that is characterized by excessive, uncontrollable and often irrational worry; sometimes to the point where the perceived doom and gloom seem to be apparent indicators of impending disaster.
Worry therefore refers to a negative set of emotions or fears, very much in the same way that people experience anxiety (see previous ANXIOUS BLOG). And, as with anxiety, worry can also be accompanied by physiological symptoms such as sweating, dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, restlessness, increased heartbeat or raised blood pressure. These are unpleasant side effects to say the least. And, it is difficult, almost impossible to function when the worrying reaches such excessive levels. It is difficult, almost impossible to turn off these negative feelings and the physiological symptoms that accompany them.
People worry about all sorts of issues. I worry about all sorts of issues. Work. Health. Relationships. Money. Family. Friends. Some of these fears and worries are justified. But, sometimes, quite a lot of the time, these fears and worries are largely unfounded. And even when worries are justified, worry does nothing to control these fears. Worry does not find a solution. Worrying does not help.
It is now thought that worry may be genetic, with examples of worry being hereditary and running in families; therefore some people perhaps have a genetic predisposition to worry. I know that I especially worry about things that are out of my control, and that I can do nothing about. This really is a silly thing to do. I know it is a silly thing to do. And yet, I still do it. I worry excessively about things that are not within my control.
It has been found that caffeine may cause or worsen anxiety. That GAD sufferers may be abnormally sensitive to caffeine, and that eliminating caffeine can largely eliminate GAD in some cases. However, it should be noted that anxiety can temporarily increase during caffeine withdrawal!
So, worrying doesn't achieve anything, worrying doesn't take away tomorrow's troubles, it simply robs today of its joy. So the message would seem to be 'Don't Worry. Be Happy', and 'Love More. Worry Less'.