Do you worry… alot?
An Electronic Mental Health Newsletter from Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. & Associates
Volume 16, Number 6
To some extent, worrying can be protective and alert us to perceived threats. But it can get out of hand and become a way of life. Reinforced by advertisers and others that profit from worriers, we have become conditioned to worrying all the time about something that will probably never happen. In fact, most of the time, worrying is a negative mental activity that is often unnecessary and can lead to a major anxiety disorder.
Our June e-Letter asks the question, Are You A Worrier? Dr. Kimmel’s blog is about Summer Travel and can be found here.
We hope you find the enclosed information helpful and interesting. We also thank you for reading our e-Letters and for the positive and compassionate comments we have received.
In response to the mental health crisis, we have:
We practice telehealth and have also returned to safe, in-office visits. We can be reached by calling our office at 954 755-2885 or by going to the Our Staff page on our website, KimmelPsychology.com.
Are You a Worrier?
(Photo by Molinar-Balint)
Almost everyone worries but why?
To some extent, worry can be protective as it can prepare us to deal with a perceived threat, real or not. However, most of the time, worrying is a negative mental activity that is often unnecessary and can lead to a major anxiety disorder. In fact, one of the criteria for Generalized Anxiety Disorder is excessive worrying.
Worrying has become a part of our lives. In fact, it is very difficult not to worry. We have become conditioned to expecting bad news or hearing about some tragic event. These events make news and are reported over and over and over. Listening to or watching any news report and having it repeated multiple times only increases our worries, even if it is completely unrelated to you and may never affect you.
Even simple entertainment shows can increase our worrying. Truly, do we need to worry about some participant being kicked off a reality show? Do we need to worry about whether a celebrity has gained weight? Do we need to worry about whether a bachelor/bachelorette will propose? Really? Do these events affect our lives?
A study by Dr. Walter Cavert found that:
This means that 92% of our worry is over things that won’t happen or things we can’t change. Yet we continue to worry and not enjoy our lives each day.
Because of the deluge of information we receive from television, social media, internet ads, and our own emails, there is always some question left unanswered that can cause us to worry. In fact, this is a primary marketing strategy for advertisers to sell their products. By generating worry, they promote their product as the solution to your worrying.
Have you ever noticed how many drug commercials there are including those to help you relax or fall asleep?
Unfortunately, many people seek relief from worry in eating, gambling, drinking, drugging, or other potentially harmful behaviors.
Worrying can have very harmful effects. It can impact our daily functioning, our digestive system, our blood pressure, our sense of energy, our relationships and our performance at work or school.
In cognitive psychology, worrying is tied to “What-If” thinking. We often ask ourselves, “What-If” questions like “What if this happened to me?” We have become conditioned to be somewhat on-guard expecting some negative event that probably will not happen. In reality, most of the situations we worry about never, ever, ever happen. Try to notice how many times you think “What-If”.
So, what do you do about it? It’s not easy to stop thinking “What-If” but doing so, will greatly reduce anxiety. Having confidence in one’s own ability to handle situations will also greatly reduce worries.
In mindfulness and relaxation training, we condition ourselves to clearing our mind and staying in the present as opposed to worrying about something that might never happen.
Strategies to manage and decrease your worries include recognizing whether the situation affects you personally or are you just being drawn in? Identify what you actually have control over and take some action if needed. If you have no control over the situation, let it go. Change what you can and accept what you can’t.
Also, watch for and identify your “What-If” thinking. Realize that you will handle the situation one way or another if it actually happens.
If you do find yourself worrying excessively, try to timeframe it. Give yourself 15-30 minutes to worry and when the time is over, stop and find something else to do.
Practice deep breathing and meditation as well as exercising daily. These activities and eating healthy will decrease your anxiety.
We offer the following information:
ARE YOU A WORRIER?
It makes no sense to worry about things you have no control over because there’s nothing you can do about them, and why worry about things you do control? The activity of worrying keeps you immobilized…Wayne Dyer
WHAT TO KNOW!
- Worry is negative mental activity to avoid perceived potential threats
- With excessive worry, your mind and body can go into a highly aroused and/or panic state, you are solely focused on what could happen, and you feel a sense of impending doom
- We become conditioned to worrying by the numerous news and advertising messages about something that might not even affect you
- Negative self-talk increases our anxiety which can immobilize and depress us
- Worry is usually in response to a ”What-If” that rarely happens
- Chronic worrying interferes with relationships, sleep, lifestyle, and work
- Health problems related to chronic worrying include digestive disorders, memory loss, dizziness, fast heartbeat, headaches, difficulty concentrating, sweating, trembling, and rapid breathing
- A study by Dr. Walter Cavert found that:
- 40% of the things we worry about never happen
- 30% of our worries are over past events
- 12% are needless worries about our health
- 10% are insignificant or petty
- 8% are legitimate situations
- Worrying can sometimes be helpful if it motivates you to solve a problem but it can amplify when you worry about worrying
- Many worriers seek relief in gambling, eating, drinking, and drugging
- Popular irrational worry beliefs include:
- I am a born worrier and will always worry
- Because it didn’t happen once doesn’t mean it won’t happen another time
- Because I’m worrying about something, it’s most likely going to happen
WHAT TO DO!
- If you have health worries, get a medical examination to rule out any health problems
- Exercise daily, eat healthy, and lower your caffeine and energy drink intake
- Practice relaxation by meditating, deep breathing, listening to calming music, etc.
- Identify your “What-If” thinking and determine whether it is irrational; replace these thoughts with rational ones such as “I can handle it”
- Be conscious of your worries; set aside 15-30 minutes of time to develop solutions or just let the worries go
- Try the techniques of distraction and thought stopping to stop worrying
- Seek professional help to develop coping strategies, to change worrisome thoughts and fears, and to help find solutions to problem situations
WE PRACTICE TELEHEALTH AND CAN HELP!
Call us at 954 755-2885 or email us at info@KimmelPsychology.com
Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates
5551 N University Drive, Suite 202
Coral Springs FL 33067
As always, we are interested in your thoughts. If you would like to respond to this e-Letter, email us your comments at DrKimmel@Kimmelpsychology.com and we will publish them next month.
The information provided in this electronic newsletter is not a substitute for professional treatment. It is the opinions of the writers and is provided solely for educational purposes. For mental health care, seek a qualified professional.
If you no longer wish to receive future E-Letter reminders, please send an email to DrKimmel@KimmelPsychology.com. requesting to be removed from this list.
If you find this information interesting or helpful, please forward this E-Letter to your contacts and friends.
Copyright © 2022 by Joel I. Kimmel, Ph.D. P.A. and Associates.