Are you a worrywart? Do you worry about everything? Even when it makes no sense, do you worry anyway? Have you ever said:

“You’d worry too if…”
Translation – “I’m in pain because I care, and my worry is a sign of how much I care.”

“I even worry about how much I worry!”
Translation – “This is the only way I know.”

“Yes, I am a worrywart! (proudly)”
Translation – “I’m in that special class of people who carry the pain of the world.”

Let’s compare this to what others say about another type of problem:

“There’s a tear in my beer” (Hank Williams Jr and Sr)
Translation – “I’m in pain because I care, and my drinking is a sign of how much I care.”

“The more I drink, the more I drink.” (Blake Shelton)
Translation – “This is the only way I know.”

“I’ve got friends in low places! (proudly)” (Garth Brooks)
Translation – “I’m in that special class of people who carry the pain of the world.”

In many ways, the end result of Generalized Anxiety Disorder or “being a worrywart” and Alcoholism are pretty similar. They both carry various forms of denial. They both can ultimately destroy your life. The basic problem is when you are drinking or worrying, you’re not thinking. Believing that this is an effective, even laudable response to the pain in your life can be disastrous. Practice doesn’t make perfect, but practicing either of these habits can make them permanent.

How Practice Makes Permanent

Let’s look at this biologically. Your elbow is made to bend one way. Similarly, your brain is made to function in one way… to optimize the present moment. When you try to bend your elbow the wrong way, it hurts. When you try to use your brain in a way that doesn’t optimize the present moment, it hurts. Over time, either your elbow breaks or, in the case of worrying, your brain cells and their function are damaged.

Psychologically, excessive worry leads to anger over the unresolved pain. This can become overwhelming, leading to a variety of addictive self-soothing habits like eating too much, gaming addictions and excessive time in bed. These responses become habitual leading to additional worry. Connections with the real concerns of your life, who you are and the role of others in your life becomes lost in the confusion. Over time, “your sense of self” transforms to that of a hopeless victim and others arounds you appear as irredeemable villains.

Socially, through mirror neurons, like attracts like. This results in reaching out to others who feel similarly. The energy of victimhood is addictive and infectious calling out for agreement and support. This is quite unlike the energy of people who are in pain but know who they are, remember their life purpose and seek answers. The energy of victimhood rejects any answers friends and family members may offer. Over time, everyone around you either joins in victimhood or reluctantly distance themselves.

Does this sound familiar? It is a very well-worn path. Spiritual traditions of all types speak of a tendency to worry. Matthew 6:24 states, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry for itself.”

How to Stop Excessive Worry

Here are a few suggestions that may help:

Admit that you worry too much and that it is a problem.

It becomes a problem when you can’t stop yourself from worrying. This is relatively easy to determine. Promise someone in your life that you are going to stop talking about your worries for one day. Don’t be surprised when five minutes later you are talking about the next worry!

Worrying is neurotoxic

Worrying is neurotoxic to specific brain regions that deal with your “sense of self” and life purpose. For example, from a Biblical perspective your “sense of self” is that of a “child of God”. Your life purpose would be “to love others as yourself”.

  • Know who you are and your life purpose. Develop a statement that incorporates the two and bring it to every moment of your life. For example, “Help me to feel Your love, hear Your voice and do Your will in this moment.”
  • Develop daily practices that help you carry this intent to each moment of your life.

As a “child of God” your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Caring for your body is a form of taking care of the house that holds the relationship.

  • Steve Masley has one of the best books on the market regarding specific suggestions around diet and exercise in his book, The Better Brain Solution.
  • Talk with your medical provider about other medical approaches.

Engage with spiritual material to align your thoughts and provide clarity.

Surround yourself with inspiring relationships

  • Join a church and Bible study that best meets you and your family’s needs.
  • Begin each day by applying your spiritual intent to grow each of your relationships that day. Review these gains each night documenting what you learned in either a personal journal or book. See the Grow in Oneness video course.
  • Find a mentor who can inspire you on this journey.