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What Is Chronic Worrying?

Reviewed by our psychologist : Sam Saxton

We all worry. Some of us worry that we’re worrying too much. So, what exactly is chronic worrying? What does that even mean? Why do we keep repeating the same thoughts over and over again? In this article, you’ll find the answers to all these questions.

What Is Chronic Worrying? 
Why We Worry
Causes of Chronic Worrying
Chronic Worrying as an Anxiety Disorder
How to Stop Chronic Worrying
Professional Help with Chronic Worrying

What Is Chronic Worrying?

Chronic worrying is a mental process which causes repetitive thoughts or makes you perpetually overthink certain scenarios. Whether it’s past experiences, concerns about the future, or anxiety related to awkward encounters; there’s a wide range of things that can trigger it.

While you’re worrying, you’re usually trying to find a solution to your problem. You want to make the best possible choice. But chronic worrying actually makes it really difficult to work out what you should do. You never come up with a solution, which means you remain trapped in a cycle of repetitive thinking. This overthinking can even lead to insomnia. 

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Why We Worry

Worrying gives you a sense of control. You’re essentially trying to avoid uncomfortable emotions. Things you don’t want to deal with. Instead of examining a particular emotion, you overthink and keep replaying certain scenarios in your mind. 

Worrying also makes you feel like you’re tackling your problems. You might keep asking yourself, “What if?”, for example, “What if I fail my driving test?”. You’re worrying to prepare yourself for the worst-case scenario. This gives you a sense of control over the situation.

However, when you’re trying to make the best choice or find a solution to your problem, a “what if” thought can really stop your brain in its tracks. It actually shatters your sense of control. You keep thinking about all the ways you’re not fully in command of a particular situation. These repetitive thoughts develop into chronic worrying. 

You might also worry about:

  • An important meeting at work
  • An exam you need to pass
  • The best way you can help others
  • Making decisions 

Causes of Chronic Worrying

Chronic worrying can be caused by a range of different circumstances and the way you handle them. It’s often the result of stress and burnout brought on by overworking. Chronic worrying could also be caused by a fear of failure, daydreaming, or a particularly unpleasant event. Perpetually overthinking can lead you to hold on to negative thoughts and emotions. You’re particularly likely to experience this if you’re currently suffering from a lot of stress. 

Stress isn’t necessarily the cause of chronic worrying, but it’s often a contributing factor when you’re experiencing unpleasant thoughts and emotions. 

It’s important to establish the cause of your chronic worrying. This can help you to get it under control and, ultimately, reduce the amount of time you spend worrying. Sometimes it’s pretty difficult to determine a single cause because it’s actually the result of several different factors. So, do you want to know what chronic worrying is and what causes it? Try to figure out when you experience (excessive) stress and how you handle it in the moment.

Our psychologists can help you to determine the cause. We’ll help you to get your chronic worrying under control, so that moving forward you’ll be better at managing it.  

Chronic Worrying as an Anxiety Disorder

In some cases, you may find yourself worrying to an unusually intense degree. Do you experience extreme levels of anxiety in your daily life, even when not faced with an immediate threat? Do you worry excessively and suffer from heart palpations, sweating, shortness of breath, nausea, and a choking sensation? Chronic worrying is often associated with generalized anxiety disorder.

If you suspect this may be the case for you, we’d recommend getting in touch with your primary care practitioner. You can also chat with one of our psychologists. They can give you tips to help you manage your anxiety symptoms and offer you general advice. 

How to Stop Chronic Worrying

Do you feel like you worry too often and that you’re struggling to break the habit? Why not try our handy tips to stop chronic worrying or speak to one of our psychologists? Breaking this habit will help you sleep better and concentrate on other tasks. Often, all you need to do is make some small lifestyle adjustments. 

Professional Help with Chronic Worrying

If you’re suffering from anxiety-induced chronic worrying, cognitive behavioral therapy can be really helpful. This type of therapy is often used to treat anxiety disorders and it can help if you’re struggling with chronic worrying. Cognitive behavioral therapy involves taking active steps to change your thoughts and behavior. Your psychologist will be there to support you at every stage as you directly address your problem with chronic worrying. You’re the expert when it comes to yourself and your psychologist is the therapy expert; this means you’re essentially working together to change your thoughts and behavior.

Your psychologist will take you through a range of exercises where you’ll be asked to voice certain thoughts out loud. By doing this, you’ll gain better perspective about these situations. The more often you practice, the more skilled you’ll become at bringing these thoughts and behavior patterns under control. 

You’ll also confront your thoughts directly. Are they true? Are they helpful? Are they causing you to worry more? Together with a psychologist, you’ll address these thoughts and see if they hold true. This takes courage, but it’s certainly the case that the more you practice, the better you’ll get at keeping worrying under control.

Do you need professional assistance to help break your habit of chronic worrying? Our psychologists are happy to provide further support. Contact them on +3120 214 3928

Psycholoog : Sam Saxton

“Sam works as a face-to-face psychologist and online psychologist at iPractice. She studied clinical psychology at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. She graduated from the Amsterdam UMC outpatient clinic for anxiety disorders.“

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