As we get older and look back on our lives, many of us will think, "I wish I'd worried less." We come to recognize that worry isn't worth what it can cost—tension, poor sleep, irritability, fatigue, problems concentrating, and general unhappiness. After all, most of what we worry about never happens.
If worrying has so many drawbacks, then why do we do it?
Worrying and compulsive over thinking are caused by three core issues.
We grow up believing that if we don’t look after ourselves, nobody will. Low self-worth convinces us that we aren’t worthy of help and support. That we don’t deserve happiness, good fortune, and the Universe’s gifts. Yet, we can’t trust our own abilities to cope with life’s challenges. We don’t feel capable. We aren’t good enough.
The overwhelming urge to control:
We think that life’s a random mess, a chaotic agglomerate of unrelated occurrences. We feel we’re too powerless to create our own experiences. Too weak to change our destiny, unworthy of guidance. So we try to control every aspect of life, remembering past tragedies, desperate to prevent future hardship. Believing, deep down, that we aren’t strong enough to hold it all together.
There is a conception that we must clutch what we love. So we cling to family and friends, jobs and possessions. Petrified that they will be ripped from our hands if we let go. Because we aren’t lovable and worthy enough. We don’t deserve them.
And so we worry. Incessantly. About our future, health, and finances. About our purpose and direction. About potential failure, loss and rejection.
Even when we're determined to leave our worries behind, our mind will almost certainly will return to them.
We can't eliminate all worries, but we can choose where we direct our attention.