It can be hard to figure out what a “normal” level of worrying is, especially if worry is a regular part of your life. You may describe yourself as a “worrier”, or know that you come from a long line of “worriers” or other people may tell you that you worry too much. But how do you really know if you worry too much?
How can you differentiate between regular worry and anxiety that may be impacting your quality of life?
1. You worry about everything. Health, finances, job, your kids, your relationship, vacations, your house; nothing is safe from the possibility of worry. You may not worry about everything all at once, but there is a constant hum of possible worries. You even worry about things that are supposed to be relaxing or enjoyable (Am I doing yoga right? Do I feel how I’m supposed to be feeling? Gah, I can’t even get zen right!).
2. You worry most of the time. You may have moments of calm, but for the most part, you’re worrying about something the majority of your waking hours.
3. You have a plan for the worst case scenario, even though the probability of it happening is pretty slim. You may even have contingency plans for multiple worst case scenarios!
4. You experience physical symptoms that flare up during times of stress, including tummy upset or headaches.
5. You have a hard time just being in the present moment. Your mind is constantly going and it’s tough to just sit and be.
6. You plan, plan, plan and sometimes it feels that you’ve planned the fun out of things that are supposed to be enjoyable. Upcoming vacations? Between making packing lists, researching accommodations and activities, keeping passports and tickets organized, you are exhausted! By the time the vacation rolls around you’ve lost your enthusiasm for it or you’re already planning the next thing.
7. You’re constantly thinking about “the next phase.” It could be getting married, buying a house, having children, finishing your degree, the next promotion. Rather than just living in your current circumstances, you’re always looking ahead to the next thing. While it’s good to have goals and plans, this way of thinking can suck all the enjoyment out of the present moment.
8. Your sleep is being affected by worry. You may be having a hard time falling asleep because of the worries racing through your mind or you’re waking up feeling panicked in the middle of the night. The worry is a constant companion.
9. Your behaviour is being impacted by the worry. You may avoid certain activities because the anxiety is too high. You may be having a hard time initiating an activity because you’re worried about the potential outcomes. The worry is interfering with the things you want to do.
If any of these points resonate, you may actually be worrying too much. It may be hard to imagine, but it is possible to not constantly be in a state of anxiety. Know a fellow worrier? Share this blog post with them.