That question brings up over six million results in Google. Surely by asking, why do I worry about nothing, it doesn’t make any sense? When you worry, it must be about something or else there’d be nothing to worry about – right? I’m not sure that makes sense either, but I’m sure you get what I mean!
By knowing there is nothing to worry about, yet you still do it, can be very self-limiting. Even so, most of us do so. I’m sure most people can relate to the scenario where a loved one or family member is due home at a certain time, but they are very late, and their phone is switched off. There’s most likely a straightforward reason for the delay, but that’s not our first thought. We go into worry mode and our imagination runs away with all sorts of bad outcomes from this situation, even though we’ve gone through the same situation many times in the past.
Then, you hear the key in the door, and a voice saying, “I’m home, sorry I’m late”, followed by the reason why. Then you feel the huge sense of relief, it’s a pleasant feeling and one you’ve felt many times before. It kind of reinforces a sense of security and normality, which can be very comforting. You really have been worrying about nothing, that’s nothing in the real world, but just imaginary situations you’ve created in your mind. How mad is that – why do we do it?
Why Do We Worry?
First, we should distinguish between worry and anxiety. They’re closely related although anxiety can be more extreme and a medical condition. Worrying can also be extreme, but in this article, I’m referring to the lesser type that most of us often indulge in. Just for fun, you might want to try this worry test from anxietycentre.com but do remember the results are not meant to assess your state of mind.
The most common reason why we worry is probably because of fear of our future. It’s the unknown, not knowing what’s around the corner that brings about this feeling. The odd thing is that we go through life never knowing what our future holds from minute to minute anyway. When we’re in our little planned routines, we feel comfort because we believe the path in front of us is clear to see. But it isn’t. Bad things which upset us can happen in any situation, not just the ones where we worry.
Despite this, when we have a pattern of worrying with no bad outcomes occurring, it can become our norm. It can even appear that by worrying, it causes a good outcome. In other words, worrying seems to reward us. This, of course, is nonsense but it’s the message that gets delivered to our subconscious. When that happens, each time we’re in a similar situation, we experience the same feelings of worry. Our subconscious is just doing its job.
Other Reasons for Worrying
Just to remind you, we are asking: why do I worry about nothing. There are plenty of situations where it’s understandable, but when it’s about nothing it can be harmful. Some people worry about the worst possible outcome of a situation, then it won’t seem so bad if it’s actually less than that. Doing this also invites the mind to expect bad things to happen to you. That’s what you’re preparing yourself for even though you don’t really expect it to be that bad. Crazy!
Some even believe that by worrying it shows you care. This is based on the belief, if you don’t worry, you don’t care, so the opposite must be true. There’s a danger that this can lead to being manipulative in relationships and eventually cause them to breakdown. Worrying because you care can also make you appear weak to others – isn’t it better they see you trying to do something to improve the situation rather than doing nothing other than worry?
It’s also possible that worry can force you to take some sort of action. Negative feelings are generally stronger than positive ones and when they present themselves, doing something about them might make them go away. The problem is that if worry causes action, it won’t always lead to a positive outcome. Feeling worry is similar in some ways to the fear of fear. When you’re fearful of something, you become aware (and fearful) of the feeling it will give you. If you regularly worry about the same sort of things, you know (and worry) about the resulting feelings. You can become accustomed to it and then you’re in a vicious circle.
Journalist and humourist, the late Erma Bombeck famously said, “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but it never gets you anywhere.” Most of us are worriers to some degree, we know it and just accept it. Scientists think our ancestors may have developed it to help keep them out of trouble. Worrying is a natural trait but when it’s about something that really is nothing, it can be limiting and detrimental.
Try to identify the sort of things that cause you to worry, particularly the inconsequential things – the “nothings”. It might be something you learned from a parent as a child. If one of your parents was a worrier, you might be too. When something causes you to worry, try and work out the reason behind it. Is it being reinforced by a belief you have? If so, that’s where you should focus, learn to think positive thoughts and you can work on changing your beliefs.
You know that the future is uncertain to a degree and if you worry about that, it’ll still be uncertain despite the worrying. Repeat positive affirmations, use meditation and positive contemplation to help you embrace the unknown. It might even work out to be much better than it is now, that’s part of the excitement of life. You have the power to stop the thoughts of worry entering your mind. If you replace them with positive thoughts every time it happens, eventually your subconscious will eventually accept it and your beliefs will begin to change.
Why Do I Worry About Nothing When its Nothing?
That’s a very good question! After the event, if you look back and ask yourself what all the worry was for, was it really worth it? OK, you may feel better now, but what about the stress you went through, don’t forget about that. What’s more, if you don’t change your thinking, it’s very likely the pattern will repeat itself again very soon. You can control it, so do something about it.
You’ll never completely stamp it out because worrying comes naturally to us, but you can control it. You control your conscious and subconscious mind – if you want to. The feeling will come from your conscious mind and be backed up by the subconscious. Stop and replace the thoughts before they pass from the conscious to the subconscious. Continually repeating this process will, over time, make a difference.
I always remember many years ago when I was worried about something happening at school, my dad sensed something was wrong, he sat me down and asked what the problem was. I eventually told him and to this day I can still hear what he said to me. He told me that we all worry about things in life and most of them don’t come about. He then said, “You know, most things in life turn out to be ok and we wonder what we were worrying about in the first place.” It’s nothing earth shattering but I always remember those words, they have helped me many times. Why do I worry about nothing? I do sometimes but I know most things do turn out ok.