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Are You Born To Worry?

When a client presents with worry in therapy, one of the questions we ask is, how long have you been a worrier? Their reply is usually “oh I was born a worrier’.

What they really mean is that they can’t remember a time when they didn’t worry, so believe this is a huge part of who they are. Is this you? Do you worry all the time, about small and large things? Worried about being late for work, will the shop still be open when you get there, what to have for tea, that tummy ache, is it something sinister?

When babies are born, they are not born worried. Worry is a state of mind, that is a thought-response to something happening in your life. As you are taught how to eat, drink, play, be good, be kind etc, you are also taught how to deal with something that could potential cause worry. If one of your parents worried, then as they are your teachers, your role models, you would learn how to worry too. As you grow, the more you worried the more it became a habit.

When you label yourself a worrier, you’ll stay a worrier. If you want to change that worry label & behaviour, you need to change your brain wiring. When you notice yourself worrying, say stop! Then tell yourself that the worry is pointless, it serves no purpose, just keeps you stuck. Think of a better, more positive response.

Don’t expect immediate change, just like any new learning, it has to be practised a few times before it become a new, more positive habit. Isn’t it best to think yourself as having a positive mindset, creating happy feelings, than forever be a worrier?