What Causes Overworry?

Worry is a common way to think about problems, threats, or danger. At stressful times, or after difficult life experiences, everyday worry or negative thinking can begin lasting too long or occurring too often, perhaps even to the point where it becomes difficult to control. Disturbing worry churns your major concerns together with deep-seated uneasiness.

This over-worry becomes evident as a problem when you find you’re devoting a lot of energy to “sticky thinking” – dwelling on worries, rumination (sometimes defined as “compulsively focused attention on the symptoms of one’s distress, and on its possible causes and consequences, as opposed to its solutions”), or barraging yourself with self-criticism or blaming.

For many people with problems of anxiety or panic, worry and anxiety may have intertwined for so long that they almost seem synonymous. For many others, this entanglement of negative thoughts and feelings may unfold at a time when stress and anxiety become a problem, increasing the tendency to dwell on disturbing matters that can clog up thinking and coping ability in the short term and become demoralizing in the longer run.