Confusing worry with problem-solving

Worry is defined as a negative thinking pattern about unresolved and fearsome issues that could have serious consequences.

In life, we all have problems. But sometimes, when we are trying to use our energy to focus on solving these problems, we direct our energy to worry.

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Are You Problem-Solving, or Just Worrying?

psychologytoday.com

Research shows that when asked why people worry, many say it's because they are trying to solve problems. Another study found that people believe worry is necessary to find the best solutions.

Recognising the difference and moving away from worry can help to solve your problems efficiently.

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Just thinking about our problem can make us feel anxious.

It causes us to worry about the issue instead of focusing on the problem objectively. Worry also feels productive. But mulling over possible outcomes (mostly the bad ones) won't get us anywhere.

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While anxiety is normal when you first identify a threat, it's not helpful when you're trying to solve a problem.

  • Worrying makes us feel bad, that can cloud our judgment.
  • When we worry, it takes a lot of mental effort to stop focusing on the threat and shift to goal-directed thinking.

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  • When you're thinking about an issue, do you feel tense, distressed, and upset?
  • Are you spending your time focusing on how bad the outcomes could be?
  • Do you immediately dismiss all your solutions as ineffective?

If you answered yes to these questions, you might be worrying.

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There is no such thing as "good worry". Instead of worrying, try to do the following:

  • When you want to focus on the problem, do so in an open-minded, calm, and non-judgmental way.
  • Define the problem.
  • Identify your ultimate goals.
  • Remember to think positive.
  • If you find yourself steering toward negative thinking, try to let those thoughts go, and refocus your mind on the problem.

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