Do you worry about things like these?
- What if I fail my exam?
- What if I don’t get to my appointment on time?
- What if my partner has an accident?
- What if my house gets robbed or catches fire?
- What if I become ill and can’t provide for my family?
- What if my constant worrying makes me sick and ruins my life?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder can be treated
Chronic worry is the hallmark of Generalized Anxiety Disorder. “What-if” thoughts are very common among people with GAD. Usually, the worry thoughts are about external things (such as exams, family members) or internal, physical things (such as illness). Often people who are chronic worriers believe that worry is dangerous and harmful to their health, and that there is nothing they can do to change their worry habits.
At the same time, it may seem to folks with GAD that they’re just having productive “problem-solving” discussions with themselves, but the truth is that worried rumination is nothing like actual problem solving. Sometimes people with GAD believe that worrying is necessary to motivate them to do things or find solutions. They may even believe that if they didn’t worry about, say, a traveling loved-one’s death by tragic plane crash, it would be tantamount to not caring whether their loved one lived or died.
Do you struggle with worry thoughts? With what-if thoughts? Have you tried to “make yourself” stop worrying to no avail, and have you avoided doing things because you have feared the worry that doing them might trigger? Have your worn out your friends and family by asking again and again for reassurance that your fears are unfounded, only to find their reassurance inadequate because your worry is so persistent?
There is help for Generalized Anxiety Disorder! Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, and other Mindfulness-Based therapies have been proven to be highly effective treatments for persons who have the worry habit. I would like to encourage you to find out how you can challenge your beliefs that sustain worry, change the unhelpful habits of GAD, and develop new and healthy strategies for coping with life’s uncertainties.