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Reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Fact: Everybody worries. But if you’re wondering, Why do I worry so much? you’re not alone.
Feeling temporarily nervous or anxious is a totally normal response to uncertainty in life. But worry can also be a good thing. It can help you examine every angle of a situation and inspire you to do something about it.
On the other hand, not all worries are good. If you face excessive worry in your daily life and find that it prevents you from enjoying yourself, that’s a problem. This kind of constant worry can impact both your mental and physical health.
Are you thinking, Why do I worry so much? If so, it can be helpful to know the emotional and physical symptoms so you can catch the worry as it starts. You may also want to learn some relaxation techniques.
Here’s everything you need to know to protect your mental health from chronic worry.
As mentioned, experiencing occasional nervousness or worry happens to everyone. However, if you worry all the time and it’s leading you to be in poorer health, you may have an anxiety disorder.
One of the most common disorders that can cause excessive worry is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). This condition occurs when someone has issues controlling their anxiety or worry more often than not over the course of six months.
There are other mental health disorders that can cause worry, too, including
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). People with OCD experience difficulty escaping repetitive worries and compulsive behaviors. For example, someone with OCD may worry about germs, so they wash their hands all the time.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After a traumatic event — like being violated, living through a natural disaster or serving in the military — some people develop PTSD. It can cause feelings of intense fear or worry, which is often triggered by things that remind the individual of their trauma.
Social anxiety disorder. Also known as social phobia, this is when someone feels extreme worry or overwhelmed in social situations. It can be general anxiety about being around people or specific to certain scenarios, like public speaking.
Panic disorder. Paralyzing worry, heart palpitations and shortness of breath are all signs of panic disorder. Some people experience these symptoms so severely that they worry they have heart disease. This mental health condition can also be accompanied by panic attacks that come on during everyday life.
There’s no one thing that causes people to worry. Some may worry a lot when something unusual pops up in their day-to-day life, while others may worry for absolutely no reason.
That said, there are a few common things that can cause worry, including:
Fear of having an illness, despite there being no notable risk factors
Worry you’ll be uncomfortable in social situations
Concerns about poor health conditions in loved ones
Nervousness around new scenarios or experiences
Living with worry is no way to live at all. If you’re in a constant state of worry, you may actually have poor physical health. Some research has found that people with high levels of neuroticism tend to have poorer health outcomes.
All of this is to say, whether you feel minor or more severe symptoms, it’s important to deal with your chronic worry and anxiety. Doing so can ease constant worrying so you can live a healthier life.
If you’re a nervous person, there are numerous techniques and mental health behaviors you can adapt to stop excessive worrying. It’s best to speak to a mental health professional to figure out what will work best for you.
Here are some things they may suggest.
Many anxious people find that meditation helps. There’s science to back this up too. A 2014 study suggests that 20 minutes of mindful meditation decreases anxiety, the idea being that it temporarily reduces brain activity.
When you practice mindful meditation, the goal is to focus on attention and acceptance. Pay attention to what’s happening in the moment, and if outside thoughts pop in, accept them and push them back out.
If you’re new to meditation, there are tons of apps that offer guided sessions of varying lengths with different themes, like erasing stress or easing exaggerated worry.
In CBT, you’ll speak with a mental health professional to look at behaviors that enhance your worry period. Then, you’ll work with them to come up with ways to change.
If your worry is debilitating, you may want to consider anti-anxiety medication. This can be used on its own or in conjunction with therapy.
But before going on any new medication, you should speak with a healthcare professional. Be sure to mention any medical conditions or allergies you may have so they can ensure whatever they put you on won’t end up with a poor health outcome.
Medications prescribed for anxiety include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), beta blockers and benzodiazepines. But we should note medication doesn’t make your worries vanish. Instead, it can help you cope while in a worry period.
Worry is a common condition, but it’s also one you may need medical assistance for. To figure out what may work best to treat your worries, speak with a healthcare professional sooner than later.
Hers offers online consultations that allow you to speak with a healthcare provider about your worries and figure out what treatment options may help you most.
Kristin Hall is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner with decades of experience in clinical practice and leadership.
She has an extensive background in Family Medicine as both a front-line healthcare provider and clinical leader through her work as a primary care provider, retail health clinician and as Principal Investigator with the NIH.
Certified through the American Nurses Credentialing Center, she brings her expertise in Family Medicine into your home by helping people improve their health and actively participate in their own healthcare.
Kristin is a St. Louis native and earned her master’s degree in Nursing from St. Louis University, and is also a member of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. You can find Kristin on LinkedIn for more information.
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