How To Stop Obsessive Worrying

When it comes to panic attacks, these words are just as true today as they were in 1932, “the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by anxiety and fears, you’re one of many humans who has struggled with this problem for ages. Even the ancient Greek philosophers thought about how best to balance life to achieve happiness and keep anxiety and depression at bay, and some researchers today are even trying to use those ideas to help people in our modern world. We have newer methods to deal with anxiety as well, but sometimes it’s a comfort to know that throughout human history people have struggled to find balance in both physical and mental health.

Why am I worrying constantly?

Catastrophizing, or worrying about the worst possible things that could happen in any situation, is something many people do occasionally, but those prone to anxiety sometimes get stuck in these thinking patterns and have trouble extricating themselves. Some level of anxiety is healthy, worrying about negative outcomes helps us to be cautious in dangerous situations and work hard to avoid failures at work, in school or in our personal lives. Too much anxiety can become paralyzing, and it’s good to have a plan for some concrete steps to manage your worries.

How do I stop worrying obsessively?

  • Thought stopping – Catching negative and irrational thoughts as you start to worry is a great start! If you start to worry, hold up those anxious thoughts to the light of day and see if they make any sense. If someone else told you these were their worries, what advice would you give them?
  • Distraction –  Focusing on something else, engaging your mind in a positive way can help interrupt the anxiety spiral. Have a couple books you love to read handy or a mental list of pleasant things to think about that you find happy and distracting.
  • Positive practice – Just stopping the negative thoughts and distracting yourself is a great start, but don’t leave a vacuum for anxiety to fill. Teach yourself to repeat positive, true ideas about yourself. If you’re worrying obsessively about doing poorly on a school or work task, repeat your positive attributes and previous accomplishments. If you’re afraid of failure (and we all are!) focus on the small steps you can take on the path to success and remind yourself that success isn’t the absence of failure, it’s perseverance even in the face of multiple failures.
  • Maintain physical health – Eat healthfully, exercise regularly, make time for sleep every night. Go to your yearly preventive health visit. Make time for fun. Limit substance use. Commit to make small changes to improve your health.
  • Psychotherapy and/or medication consultation – A visit to a clinical psychologist, counselor, licensed clinical social worker, psychiatrist or your primary care provider might be in order if your worries are getting in the way of living your life. Asking for help takes courage, please be brave!

The information provided on this site is intended for your general knowledge only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease without consulting with a qualified healthcare provider. Please consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.

How To Stop Obsessive Worrying