On Your Mind: “I worry all the time…”

Dear Tom,

I feel uptight all the time because I have fears that something bad might happen to one of my kids or my husband or my parents. I can’t seem to stop imagining worst-case scenarios. What can I do to make this constant worrying stop?

Dear Mom:

Sorry you’re feeling the uneasiness of constant worry. Some people are worriers; others are more laid back. A little worry or anxiety is a useful thing – if it were not for the motivation of a little anxiety, we would never catch a train, pass an exam or meet a deadline.

But there are people who constantly worry about money, their job, their family, their health and anything else they can think of. In this case, the chronic worrying is a form of anxiety and may disrupt daily functioning. When this happens, the chronic worry or anxiety causes us to feel nausea or headaches, not sleep well, and/or be more irritable with people around us.

Some folks who worry a lot have some form of anxiety, so they need to understand some of the triggers that may cause anxiety. Knowing the triggers or factors can help you identify the problem and find ways to deal with it.

Some of the causes of excessive worry or anxiety are genetics, chemical imbalance in the brain, or simply a certain way of thinking. Some tips to relieve worry or anxiety are practicing staying in the present (mindfulness), letting go of things you cannot control, and learning to embrace uncertainty as a normal part of life. There ARE ways to get help in practicing these tips. Self-help meditation and mindfulness videos or tools are available online or at your local bookstore.

For more professional help, you can talk to your doctor or to a therapist who can teach you tips on how to slow down or relieve the constant worry or anxiety. In some cases, medication may be of help but that measure would certainly require a talk with your doctor or a psychiatrist. The main message, Mom, is that you’ve taken a very healthy first step because you recognize that worrying is really impacting your life in a way you don’t want. Now, take that next step to help yourself; you can do it.

Tom

Tom Petrizzo serves as CEO of Ozark Guidance and has degrees in social work and law. You can reach Ozark Guidance at 479-750-2020.  Tom has spent the last 20 years managing non-profit centers in Texas, Kansas, Colorado and Arkansas. He has also served as adjunct faculty at the social work graduate program at three large universities. He’s married to Teri Classick, a licensed clinical social worker, and they have two daughters. When he’s not at work, Tom likes to jog, bike ride, read and he even belted out the National Anthem lately at a Northwest Arkansas Naturals Game!

Tom would be happy to answer your questions and read what’s on your mind. Click the butterfly icon below to fill out an anonymous submission form with your question or concern. The form contains NO identifying information and is designed to give local women an online place to share concerns with a person qualified to offer feedback. Tom will be back each month to answer another woman’s question.

Disclaimer:  This RESPONSE does not provide medical advice It is intended for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on nwaMotherlode or Ozark Guidance websites.

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