Worrying is OK. It is perfectly normal and, in fact, crucial to worry. If we didn’t worry we would be dead. If we had sat in the forests and the jungles meditating and hugging trees (nice as they are), if we had just done yoga and gone ‘OM’ then we would have been breakfast. “I saw these losers saluting the sun. Yum. LMAO,” one predator would have said to another.
The problem with worrying is when you cannot get off the worry train. When your anxious thoughts have anxious thoughts. When you sit and work out every single possible terrible scenario like Sherlock in his mind palace – but not in a good way.
According to a report in BPS Research Digest, as seen on the Science of Us, a group of psychologists are interested in the point when worrying tips from ‘Hey just surviving out here’ to ‘The apocaplyse is definitely coming and this is the team I have assembled’. Because as journalist Christian Jarrett writes, “Problem worriers tend to have a kind of perfectionist approach.”
It may be your divorce fantasy, even though you are happily married but divorce feels inevitable because everyone else is doing it. Or it could be Googling enough sites to prove that your cold is cancer while carefully planning what you are going to say to everyone in your life. This worry has a perfectionist quality. The attention to detail is a bastard.
Good news is that it’s possible to halt the terrible train of thought. Jarrett says, “Thinking about the idea of stopping worrying when you’ve had enough of it, rather than when the worrying is somehow ‘finished’ or ‘complete,’ could be beneficial.”
It is possible to walk away from a worry spiral. To say, “Perfection is for other people and I have had enough of this now.” To get off the hurtling locomotive. Try it. See you at the next station.