Anxiety Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Fear mindfulness Perfectionism stress

What type of Worrier are You?

I define worry as the narrative our brains write during anxiety.

If you’re a worrier, you’re not alone. Worriers come in all shapes, sizes and ages. In this article, I go through five common types of worriers.

Worries aren’t all bad – they also have their perks. Read on to find out more!

The Fortune Teller

This worrier tries to see into the future, years down the road. They want to plan out where they’ll live, how much money they’ll have, when they’ll get married, how many kids they’ll have and what their names will be…

Perks: When used effectively, the fortune teller’s worries can be useful. This worrier might squirrel away money for a rainy day, and be ahead of schedule in application processes. These actions often pay off long-term.

Pitfalls: Since the fortune teller is always thinking twelve steps ahead, they may not spend much time in the present moment. They may be making themselves miserable planning for disasters that will never even happen.

My two cents: If you tend to be a fortune teller, remember to bring yourself back to the here-and-now. Enjoy life while you’re living it.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

– Ferris Bueller

The Social Worrier*

Before or during social events, the social worrier may wonder, What if I say something stupid? What if my anxiety gets bad and people notice?

After social events, the social worrier may run back the tape. Was that person offended by that thing I said? Maybe that look on their face meant they were mad at me

Perks: Social worriers tend to be kind people. Their concern for others and the way others perceive them is often a sign of how deeply they care for people.

Pitfalls: When social anxiety gets really bad, people may begin to avoid social gatherings. They might feel they need alcohol and drugs to ‘loosen up’ in these settings.

My two cents: Remember that other people think about themselves way more than they think about you. Be honest with others about your worries when you can; often, just getting them out there eases the tension.

*If your social anxiety is interfering with work or relationships, see a therapist. Social anxiety can be very debilitating.

The Work Worrier

The work worrier may have anxiety about public speaking, one of the world’s most common fears.

They may beat themselves up for making mistakes, or failing to perform at 100%. They may have anxiety before going into work in the morning, and relief after leaving in the evenings.

Perks: Work worriers are often high achievers and perfectionists. Their worries frequently indicate their dedication to their career.

Pitfalls: When work worries get bad enough, they can negatively impact performance. If worrying takes more time and energy than completing the day’s tasks, it could become a big impediment… to mental health as well as career.

My two cents: Take time off. Take lunch breaks. Establish boundaries, both in and outside of work. And if a toxic work environment is creating your work worries, find another job if you can.

The Financial Worrier

This type of worrier might check their bank account multiple times a day. They experience stress about paying bills in the present, or having enough money in the future.

Perks: In some circumstances, worrying about finances can lead to responsible behavior. Financial worriers might cook instead of ordering in, save instead of splurge. And saving can absolutely pay off.

Pitfalls: It’s a slippery slope from financial worrier to control freak. When financial worriers begin projecting their worries onto those around them (for example, judging their partner for buying name-brand items), it can lead to relationship problems.

My two cents: Ha! Cents! Get it? Anyway… I know money stuff is mega stressful. As important as money is, it isn’t the most important thing. If you have food on the table and a roof over your head, you’re doing better than a lot of people. Try to practice gratitude for what you do have, rather than fixating on what you don’t.

The Existentialist

The existentialist may worry about the world’s problems, or their country’s problems. This type of worrier may have thoughts like, what is my purpose? And, I’m just one person, there’s no way I can make a difference.

Perks: Existentialists are often big thinkers and ‘idea people.’ Those qualities come in handy in a lot of situations.

Pitfalls: Existential worriers can quickly fall victim to depression, instead of or in addition to anxiety.

My two cents: In order to be happy, people need to appreciate the little things in life, and that includes existentialists. Practicing gratitude can also be useful for these folks.

So, what type of worrier are you? Frankly, I can identify with all five, depending on the day and my mood.

-Rebecca

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