Worrying is our natural response to uncertainty and new situations. Thinking of scenarios that could turn out negative makes us more cautious. Our ancestors benefited greatly from the ability to worry. They helped us survive.
It indicates which values are threatened and motivates us to take action. If you manage to respond to that alarm, worrying can be helpful. Sometimes we get sick too. Prolonged worrying and stress lead to lack of sleep, mental complaints and burnouts.”
Is it unlearnable?
Yes. A little worrying from time to time is no problem. But it will be a different story if you spend half the night grinding. Don’t make your bed a ‘worry place.’ It can end up in a negative spiral because before you know you associate your bed with worrying, and you can’t sleep at all.
Lie awake, get out of bed and write down your thoughts. That way, you can put off worrying until the next day. The next day, your worries usually turn out to be much less relevant than they seemed in the dark.
And during the day?
Worrying thoughts often suck you in without you realizing it. So the first step to getting rid of your worrying is to become aware of it. Keep a daily record of how often you worry for one or two weeks. Every time you notice that you are or were worrying. You put a paragraph in a notebook. Research shows that just recording those thoughts reduces worrying.”
Do you have any more tips?
Plan a worrying quarter. Limit the worrying to one moment per day. Divide your problems into solvable and unsolvable ones for the time being. That gives an overview. It also makes it clear whether you need to take action. After all, you can only solve solvable problems. With unsolvable problems, you may realize that you have to accept them (for the time being), however difficult that may be. Understanding this can already ensure that you stop worrying about it.”
Does it sometimes go away on its own? Or will I always be a worrier?
Research shows that people over the age of 65 generally worry less. Half of the elderly worry less. This has to do with the changes in their living conditions: the elderly have less to worry about work, older children, and fewer responsibilities in family life.
In a small proportion of the elderly, worrying worsens because of loneliness, health problems and losing a partner and friends. But it seems that the aging brain can better deal with worries and is less carried away by negative thoughts.