How to stop constant worrying
By Terri Flint, PhD, LCSW
Jan 12, 2021
Updated Nov 17, 2023
5 min read
At the end of each the year, we hear about songs of the year, people of the year, and books of the year. If there was an Emotion of the Year 2020, I suspect it would be Worried. This is the year where events provoking worry have been harsh and relentless. While we may be on the last leg of the race with coronavirus, other issues – like political and social unrest – appear to be unending.
This article is not intended to stop you from worrying, but to encourage you to worry well. Yes, you read it correctly – you can improve your worry ability. Instead of it controlling you, you can learn to control it.
The danger of uncontrolled worry is that it hijacks our thoughts and begins to push out positive thinking like gratitude and optimism. We’re learning amazing new things about our brain and one discovery is that the brain creates neural pathways when we continually repeat behaviors. The well-traveled pathway of worry can become so deep, Arthur Somers Roche notes it “cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.”
We’ve also learned that we can rewire the brain and create new pathways of healthier habits at any age! This process is called neuroplasticity. Carving out new paths isn’t easy, it requires learning and lots of practice, but it’s worth it when it comes to reducing anxiety and increasing well-being.