Worrying is a normal, everyday part of life. And there are plenty of things to worry about -- health concerns, job security, global issues...sometimes, it feels as if the list will never end.
Almost 1 in 10 people find themselves afflicted with uncontrollable and chronic worrying -- this worrying can be driven by a need to make sure things will be alright, and can even become an inseparable part of someone's personality.
With all the worrying that we can do -- there has to be some good that comes out of it. Right?
Actually, there may be no benefit to worrying at all. Here are four common myths about worrying, and how these beliefs negatively affect your productivity.
Worrying leads to safety.
Sometimes we think that worrying will allow us to preempt disappointment or failure. But worries are not as impactful as you may hope. If anything, they can do damage to your physical health, instead of helping create solutions or finish tasks.
Worrying shows that you care.
If you've ever said, "I only worry because I care," you might have reason to believe the opposite, "If I don't worry it means I don't care." However, this isn't the case. Endlessly and fruitlessly worrying about a situation does not mean any issues are actually being relieved or taken care of. What it could mean though is that you are draining your mental and emotional energy.
Worrying helps solve problems.
Some may think that worrying helps you unlock certain modes of thinking or insights, but often, unplanned worrying is a "hindrance to basic cognitive functioning." Essentially, worrying can effectively limit how much you can properly carry out or initiate action. It interferes with your ability to problem-solve and reduces cognitive efficiency.
Worrying is my motivation.
You might think that if you stop worrying, you will become complacent or unproductive. The fact of the matter is, studies show that worry is used as a defense mechanism, and ultimately compels us to avoid the more difficult things we need to address. Yes, worrying can help you complete some tasks, but in truth it does so in a manner that is inefficient and with poor prioritization.
We certainly cannot eliminate every worry. But we can focus our attention elsewhere in our lives, rather than on the things that make us anxious. As Van Wilder once said, "Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but you get nowhere."