Do you find yourself worrying a lot these days? It may be related to the broad effects of the pandemic or to the specific effects on our personal lives. When there is great uncertainty, worry multiplies.
Worry is a word that we use a lot. Let’s use this definition as a base: to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. As a noun, worry is a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems and it can be toxic, affecting every part of your life.
Why does it happen?
There are a lot of things that can contribute to toxic worrying. The most common include:
- Feeling vulnerable and insecure
- Lack of control
- Negativity breeds negativity
- Anxiety disorders
That pretty much describes our situation today, in my opinion. Although we use one term, there are different types of worrying. Which one(s) affect you most?
Generalized toxic worry
With generalized toxic worry, there is no one cause. You’ll worry about everything from finances to relationships. The worry is continuous, and it really impacts your day to day life.
This is actually the most common type of worry. You’ll find it hard to get a break from the worry and anxiety, and there may be no particular trigger.
None of us are perfect. However, those suffering with perfection worry tend to feel like they should be. You’ll scrutinize everything you do, berating yourself for not doing better.
It could be perfectionism at work, at home or within your social circle. We all want to manage the various aspects of surviving in these times with perfection but there are new challenges with work, home, school and more. While a little perfectionism can actually be healthy, too much quickly becomes toxic.
Fear of making mistakes
Fear is a common emotion, but it can easily take over your life. This is especially true when you’re scared of making mistakes.
The truth is, we all make mistakes and it is how we learn from them that makes us better ourselves. In a time when so much is changing and there are no models or blueprints to use, this can be a particularly common type of worry. It’s important that we do our best in each situation and know there will be mistakes made as we try to find our way.
With social worry, you’ll typically find yourself worrying about how you come across in social situations. You’ll feel uncomfortable around people and fear being judged by those around you.
There are different levels of severity with social worry. It may simply make you feel uncomfortable and anxious while you’re out. Or, in severe cases it could make you avoid social situations completely.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
In some cases, toxic worry can be related to post-traumatic stress disorder. While this is the least common type of toxic worrying, it can still be a potential cause. With this type of toxic worrying, it occurs after a stressful and traumatic experience. These days in a pandemic could be triggering some previous time – an accident you’ve suffered, a time of economic crisis, or a death of a loved one for example. To avoid going through the experience again, your mind starts to worry more. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious condition which may call for professional treatment.
Why recognizing your toxic worry is important
The different types of toxic worry have a slightly different impact on your health and well-being. They also require a different form of management. Some will require professional help, while others can be managed successfully by yourself.
It is only after you have identified the type of toxic worry you’re experiencing that you can work on how to get past it. Toxic worrying can have a debilitating impact on your life.
What kind of worry are you experiencing?
A first step is to write down all the things that you are worrying about, which type of toxic worry it is, and how frequently it is happening. Write a bit more about each one to understand it better. In an upcoming post, I will suggest some ways to manage worry in your life.
If you are ready to dig into this more right now, consider this book: