Chronic Worry about the Future – How to Break the Cycle
Written by: Dr Joseph Kekulawala (Psychiatrist)
Last updated date : January 23, 2023
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Chronic Worry can appear to be a dilemma, but actually, anyone can overcome it Here is a saying that everyone can relate to: “Worrying about the future only makes the present unbearable.” So, how to stop the worry about future? Allison Willy, a young lady in her 20s who has faced chronic worrying about the future her whole life. She used to think that she can never succeed in her Engineering course. She experienced suicidal thoughts when she failed her test. Her condition was getting worse, unable to focus on day to day tasks and always assuming the worse. When she attended the therapy sessions, she learned more about the problem. Learning about Chronic Worry, she could help herself better. After taking the sessions, it took a year and a half, she got back to her ordinary schedule. Let’s look at the big picture!According to the statistics, over 40% of people overthink or worry about something. The reality is that sometimes it’s normal to worry now and then. But chronic Worry can be concerning as it can profoundly affects your mental peace. Tragically, many individuals are battling because of certain events that happened in their lives. Many of us would rather struggle on burdened by worry rather than ask for help.For a peaceful life, it’s essential to stay in the moment. Ancient Greek philosophers stated that we should let go of the past and push back all the negative thoughts for our mental sanity. Sometimes it’s best to stop and smell the roses, even with the weight of the world on your shoulders. Uncertainty doesn’t knock on your door before coming in, but all we can do is stay positive. It’s ok to get worried about your future, but don’t let this chronic fear eat away at you.Before acknowledging the reasons for chronic Worry about the future, it is better to understand the idea of Worry. Most people confuse the term ‘worry’ with ‘concern.’ Concern as a term can be used to describe an event that evokes both interest and apprehension. However, worry is something that can take over your mind with negative repetitive thoughts. We begin to suppose improbable troubles or focus on close details and play out all types of scenarios. Moreover, we cannot foresee future and numerous individual faces some serious problems like a health issue, etc. In such matters, it’s challenging to halt worrying but trying can be effective.Do you worry nonsensically or suffers chronic Worry all day? This could be a sign of an underlying mental illness. Psychologists and psychiatrists try to distinguish between normal worries about the future which we all experience, from an underlying mental disorder. If your fears of a future life are consistent, and they impact your ability to function then you may have GAD or a depressive disorder. GAD is the abbreviation of Generalized AnxietyDisorder. It is a mental health condition, which psychologists and psychiatrists treat. This disorder involves chronic worrying, depression, muscle tension and poor sleep.
- Are you worrying a lot?
- Are you constantly agonizing about small things?
- Do you always have thought that begins with the words “what if”?
- Has worrying about the future decreased your productivity?
- Are you constantly thinking how to Stop the Worry about the future?
Some Facts about Chronic Worry
Why Is Living in the Moment Important?
Why Chronic Worry about the Future Exists?
Break the Cycle of Constant Chronic Worry about the Future
Stop existing in the past, stop worrying about the future, and start living in the present.None of us is a stranger to worry- every time we think of our goals, ambitions, relationships, our minds are always concerned about the future. There are several times when worries and fears consume our minds because we overthink, plot and plan what’s next. But with the right attitude, one can eliminate all the unnecessary worries from life. Every age groups has their own defining worries. An older adult is stressed about illness, death and leaving behind their partners and children. Teenagers have different worries. Their chronic Worries are about meeting the expectations of their friends and family. They worry about building and securing a future. When you have children, your worries are mostly about them. School, holidays, making sure they have good friends, the list of worries for some parents is endless. Sometimes it’s just lot of little worries, but they do all add up. Here are few tips to stop worrying about the future:
1. Control Your Present:It is important to understand that one cannot control everything all at once. What you have the most control over is the present moment. By making better choices today, you can influence your tomorrow. So, even though it’s incomprehensible to control the future, you can influence it. For example, If you study every day for your final exams, you’ll positively influence your result. If you save small amounts each week, maybe by year end you will be to take your family on a holiday. Bothering about the future does not always lead you to torment or disappointment but, however it does lead to wasted present opportunities.
2. Be Mindful:Mindfulness is an effective way to diminish chronic worry and stress. Mindfulness is all about staying conscious and being aware or present in your surroundings. Various techniques and strategies can calm your mind, for example meditation and breathing exercises. Take out 15 minutes from your busy day and attempt these before sleep. It will surely help you to cultivate mindfulness and present day focus and attention. Additionally, it will reduce all the stress, relax your muscle and can form part of a healthy evening routine.
3. Get Help From Specialists:When worrying has become your habit, it is best to take a proactive approach with the help from psychologists. They can suggest more ways to overcome your fear of the future. There are various tools psychologists use such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) which have techniques to help with worry. A therapist can introduce and coach you on these techniques, until you master them. There are also online courses, workbooks and classes that you can take to help with worry and anxiety. We are lucky in some sense, given the availability of help.
4. Live With Your Emotions:As we are learning, when we live with chronic stress and worry it can lead to negative longer term health consequences. Learning to live with emotional ups and down, failures, disappointments and other experiences are important. Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) is a school of psychological practices which teaches us how to cope with emotional ups and down, fears and worries. There is something to building resilience and the ability to cope.
5. Ask yourself questions:Take a moment to ask yourself questions about your fear. Lets break down the worry you have about the future. Try and understand it. For example; if you worry about your daughter’s health, ask yourself the following clarifying questions. a) What exactly am I worried about? b) Is there another way to describe my concern? c) What assumptions am I basing my worry on? d) have I always felt this way? e) is someone else’s opinion influencing my worry? f) how might someone else view my problem and why?
6. Observe your fears:A more efficient tip to diminish chronic Worry is to make a list of all your woes and fears. You might have heard about the concept of a ‘brain dump’. Take time and analyze each one of them and figure out whether these worries are productive or nonproductive. You can take action for the productive one as you have by means all You can take action for the productive concerns or worries you have. For unproductive Worry, you cannot do anything about it because you’re unaware of the aftermath. With this example, you can conveniently sense the negative and positive approaches to your thinking.
How Chronic Worry Can Affect Psychologically
Symptoms of Chronic Disorders
- Constant chronic fear
- Unable to endure uncertainty
- Stress OR anxiety
- Stomach aches