Is there such a thing as productive worry?
That is a tough question to answer, because the answer may not be what you think.
Worry is a concept that is driven by many factors like: anxiety and fear, genetics, learned behaviors, assumptions, or a general sense that you can control things.
Throughout my time in practice as a therapist, I have noticed people fall on a spectrum with this. On one hand, I have heard “I have always been a worrier,” while the other says, “I just fix the problem.”
Both are very common responses. The problem is, they’re not black and white solutions.
The, “I’ve always been a worrier,” person who believes worry prepares them or prevents surprises, is left in the land of “what ifs.” What ifs encompass infinite possibilities, which leaves them a lot to worry about.
The person who believes they can “just fix the problem” believes they have control without personal limitations. Not every problem has an immediate solution or has a solution that is less than desired, (for example, a job loss, diagnosis of illness or terminal illness, relationship dysfunction, etc.)
Think about your worry in two camps – productive and unproductive:
The next time today, that you notice one of the Signs of Unproductive Worry pop up, call it out and change it into something productive. Find ways to turn your unproductive worry into something productive today.
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Terra has 23 years of experience working with adults experiencing life challenges. Her approach when working with others is validating and direct. She gets down to the root of situations quickly and aims to provide clear ways to cope differently. She's worked hard to cultivate resources that help people with stress management. Click here to learn more!