How to Worry Less
Statistics suggest that approximately one in five adults suffers from an anxiety-based condition of which a prominent feature is some form of worry. Approximately twice that number of people would worry on a regular basis. Therefore, worry is one of the most common forms of psychological distress. Some level of worry may be normal and productive. For example, worry can be productive if we are considering a very important issue where a potentially negative outcome is likely to happen if we do not take action and there is something which we can do about the situation. By this definition of productive worry it may be healthy to reflect on concerns about our environment or our children’s safety or our health if there are signs that these things are under immediate threat. We may then be constructively motivated to do something to improve the situation. It helps if we are focused on a specific situation and are willing to accept imperfect solutions, taking into account what we can and cannot control. By contrast, worry will commonly not be helpful if we are ruminating about relatively minor matters or about situations which are not likely to occur or when facing circumstances which we can do little about. Worry may also be unproductive if we continue to ruminate excessively and expect ourselves to have an unrealistic level of control over our circumstances or expect ourselves to find an ideal solution to complex problems.