The ‘Positive’ and ‘Negative’ Beliefs about Worry

by | Sep 20, 2023 | Burnout, Mental Health, Stress, Thinking | 0 comments

What do you find yourself worrying about? Career? Children? Cost of living? Future? Health? It is so easy to find ourselves in the trap of worrying (and so many things that we could ‘worry’ about).

Worrying is a normal process and we all do it. However, it is also a process that we can lose control of and can become a problematic part of our lives. When worry becomes an obsessional, relentless and exhausting part of our lives, it is unhelpful and potentially destructive.

In this blog, I want to raise one factor that can keep worry and its associated distress going. In psychology we talk about something called ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ beliefs about worry.

Positive beliefs about worry

When you find yourself worrying about everyday topics such as employment, health, finances and family, it may be that you find yourself stuck in cycles of worry because you maintain a series of positive beliefs about worry. For example:

  • Worry shows I care
  • Worry helps prepare me for when I am worried about
  • Worry helps me find a solution to what I am worried about
  • Worry motivates me to do things

These positive beliefs contribute to using worry as an initial strategy to deal with perceived problem.

Negative beliefs about worry

When worry continues to be perpetuated by positive beliefs, anxiety begins increasing as the problem persists. Negative beliefs about worry then follow the anxiety and a vicious cycle of worry about worry is created. Negative beliefs about worry include:

  • Worry is dangerous and will cause me harm
  • I can’t cope with worry
  • I have to stop worrying
  • My worrying will never end
  • I can’t do anything to manage my worrying

Worry is then seen as something negative. Thus, as you try to control and avoid these worries (and are unable to do so), your belief that worries are dangerous and uncontrollable is confirmed.

Psychologists understand that worry can feel difficult to control at times. Psychologists are well equipped in understanding the variety of different factors that maintain worry and strategies to address them. Not only can psychologists provide strategies to help you better control and let go of worries, they can also help with challenging the positive beliefs about worry that initiate the worry cycle in the first place.

Our team of psychologists here at the Centre For Effective Living can help you if you are wanting to improve your ability to take care of yourself. Here is the link to our enquiry form.