To worry is defined as such: “to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.”
Over-worrying is defined as the quality of worrying excessively. After learning this, I discovered I have one more thing to worry about: worrying too much.

One of my friends recently opined that he’s never looked back on his life and thought, “wow, I wish I’d worried more.” This thought was at once eye-opening and disheartening. While I believe him, and I truly wish I could just worry less, I just can’t seem to shut off that part of my brain. Worrying is, I feel, ingrained into who I am.

A substantial body of evidence suggests, however, that chronic over-worrying takes a serious mental and physical toll on us humans. Over-worrying can lead to a number of psychiatric disorders such as  generalized anxiety disorderpersistent depressive disorder (aka major or chronic depression), and a host of related difficulties such as insomnia and even elevated blood pressure and heart rate.

ARE YOU AN OVER-WORRIER?

HERE ARE SIX WAYS TO DETERMINE IF YOU ARE, AND SOME SUGGESTIONS ON CREATING HELPFUL COPING MECHANISMS:

FINANCES FREAK YOU OUT

Over-worriers stress chronically over finances. It’s really easy to do: it does often seem, after all, that money makes the world go ‘round. While worrying about money won’t do anything to help your finances, however, there are things you can do to empower yourself; in doing so, many find considerable relief from worrying. Sitting down to write out a budget (and subsequently sticking to it), identifying places where your spending could be curtailed and setting aside some money in savings monthly can be incredibly helpful in stopping your money worries in their tracks.

EVERYTHING’S YOUR FAULT

Overworriers often see anything that goes wrong in their lives as their fault. People make mistakes, though: it’s what we do. We’re human. We’re imperfect creatures. Taking yourself off the hook, though, can be accomplished in three quick steps. Here’s how.

CONSTANT CRITICISM

Overworriers constantly criticize not just ourselves, but others. In doing so we tend to find the negative in every situation. Even when someone give you a compliment, you frame it as sarcasm instead of that person being genuine. This is almost always all in our heads, and during times like this I find it helpful to step back and take a few deep breaths, and remind myself to be gentle with myself. More likely than not, the situation isn’t going as poorly or dramatically as I am thinking it is.

TOO EMOTIONAL, TOO ANGRY

Overworriers often become upset and react to situations very rapidly and emotionally. This can often lead us to outbursts of crying or anger that seem out of our control. One of the best ways to combat this is to make sure you’re taking plenty of time for self-care. A cup of tea, a walk in a park, a few moments away from the world to just breathe and get comfortable in my own skin are all ways that I try to practice self-care and keep meltdowns at bay.

DIFFICULTY FALLING ASLEEP

Insomnia is a hallmark of us overworriers. One of the most useful methods I’ve found of effectively halting insomnia is meditation. Meditation is easy to do and, once it becomes a daily practice, the benefits are, it seems, infinite. Check out this guide to meditation specifically geared towards overworriers like us.

WAKING UP WORRYING

You made it through the night okay, but your worries get a jump-start on you even before you get out of bed, right? A gentle pep talk in the morning can help calm you and start your day off on the right foot.

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