Uncertainty plays an enormous role in your worry patterns. Chronic worriers want to know outcomes before they happen and can’t stand the doubt and uncertainty that comes with so many life situations. To the chronic worrier, the worry pattern is a good way to predict an outcome. They need to know exactly what’s going to happen in certain (worrisome) situations so they can prevent unpleasant reactions to surprises and better control the outcome.
Life is totally unpredictable, so no matter how much the worrier projects a scenario into the future, the likelihood of it happening just that way is unlikely. Rather than enjoying the present moment, the chronic worrier is too busy worrying and predicting the future.
The immediate need for certainty makes the chronic worrier a nervous wreck and may eventually affect his or her mental and physical health. If you’re a chronic worrier who isn’t enjoying life’s great moments in the present time because you’re too worried about the future, you need to tackle the worry.
5 Questions for any chronic worrier
If you are a chronic worrier or you know somebody who is; the following 5 questions can help to deal with the worry and get back on track with life.
1. Can you be certain about everything in your life?
Of course not. There are 7 billion people on this Earth and we all have an impact on the world and how it works. While some people have a much bigger impact than others, it is completely unrealistic for one person to expect to have the level of control or understanding required to shape absolutely every aspect of their life.
There are 3 different types of event which occur in our lives:
- Events which we can control
- Events which we can influence
- Events which we must leave to fate
To live an effective and happy life we must focus first on events which we can control and then on events which we can influence. The most difficult aspect is recognising those events which we can do nothing about and, trusting that we can cope with whichever outcome occurs.
2. Are your predicting mostly bad outcomes rather than positive ones?
Your mindset and view of life plays a significant role in whether you become a chronic worrier or not. A chronic worrier is likely to predict mostly bad outcomes and focus only on events where they have predicted bad outcomes.
The truth of life is that we will experience both good outcomes and bad outcomes. Over the course of a life, most people will experience more good than bad but chronic worriers fail to recognise the good stuff. You can make massive improvements in your worry levels without even changing your outcomes. All you have to do is ensure that you dedicate enough time to recognising all of the good that you experience in your life.
3. Are your predictions reasonable?
Perhaps the most difficult question for any chronic worrier to answer. When you are in the middle of the situation and you are the one who will face the consequences, it is virtually impossible to be objective. And, objectivity is what is required when tackling worry.
Remember that when you are worrying, you are dedicating your time and energy to an outcome which may never occur. If you are worrying, the best thing you can do is to identify action which you can take to prevent that outcome from occurring or, reduce the likelihood of it occurring. As there isn’t enough time to deal with everything, you need to get clear about the likelihood of the negative outcome occurring and focus on tackling the worries that are most likely to occur and would have the biggest negative impact on your life.
4. Is your worry helpful in accepting outcomes in life’s situations?
Bad things happen in life. As the old saying goes ‘Nobody gets out of here alive’. Life cannot be all sunshine and roses and you are going to have to deal with some negative experiences. It is these negative experiences which make you stronger and more resilient.
Worry is only useful if you can take corrective action to deal with the situation. Even then it is really just concern as you deal with it and then you don’t have to think about it again. Truth being told, if you cannot do anything about the situation, then worry is just a useless emotion which eats up your time and energy while making you feel bad. Why would you want to experience something like that?
5. What are the advantages of worrying about a particular outcome?
It’s the uncertainties in life which help us grow and become confident and able to face life challenges. Even though uncertainty is uncomfortable for all of us, and when we react with worry, we’re really trying to control a situation. Sometimes we actually become attached to a certain outcome.
For example, if you’re so afraid of flying that it results in a panic attack, you may actually be successfully avoiding the situation of getting on that flight. You don’t have to worry about it, because you have an excuse to avoid it.
When you finally understand that uncertainties are a natural fact of life, you can begin to challenge your fears and worries – to analyze them and find the root causes so you can address them realistically and intellectually.
Worry can be a major factor in lacking self confidence. If you find yourself struggling for confidence, check out Unbreakable Self Confidence.
You’ll know that you have to accept some uncertainties, but you can talk yourself in to controlling it. Although uncertainty may be uncomfortable, you can tolerate it and build your skills to handle it. You can even challenge your uncertainties by taking decisive action. For example, if you’re afraid of flying, get on a plane. You may have to go through some therapy before you’re ready to let go of a particular worry, but its worth it when you realise you did it – you challenged your fears and won. When you learn to accept the uncertainties of life and focus on the things that you can control and influence, you will soon cease to be a chronic worrier and regain control of your life.