People with anxiety disorders worry. They worry about getting sick, running out of money, losing control, becoming embarrassed, making mistakes, getting hurt, hurting someone else, forgetting to do something, and on and on. Anxious worries rarely happen, but sometimes they do.

People do get sick, run out of money, embarrass themselves, make mistakes, get hurt, hurt others, forget stuff, and so on.

The worries of those with anxiety are reality based. However, anxious people usually inflate the actual level of risk. For example, it is true that cold viruses often linger on surfaces after an infected person coughs, sneezes onto something. If you touch an infected surface and then rub your eyes or scratch your nose, it’s quite possible that you can get sick. However, you probably have touched zillions of things in your life without getting sick. The overall risk is pretty low.

When risk is exaggerated, people with anxiety worry and try to avoid activities that might involve what is feared. These strategies don’t work. In fact, in the case of avoiding germs, constant stress and worry can lead to a compromised immune system which actually increases the risk of getting sick.

A better way is to look at the evidence. Use logic and research to help reduce the stress of too much worry. If you find yourself sweating the small stuff ask yourself the following questions and check your answers by doing a bit of research.

  • Do I have direct evidence that confirms my fears?
  • Do I have any evidence that is contrary to my worries?
  • How many times in the past has what I am worried about happened to me?
  • Do other people in my situation have the same worries and fears?

After you have checked the evidence, take another look at what you are worried about. Re-calculate the risk. Be sure to take reasonable precautions and then live life. Embrace uncertainty.

Teddy bear photo available from Shutterstock.

 


Comments


View Comments / Leave a Comment

This post currently has 2 comments.
You can read the comments or leave your own thoughts.

Trackbacks

No trackbacks yet to this post.






    Last reviewed: 7 Apr 2012

APA Reference
Smith, L. (2012). Exaggerating Risk. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 26, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/anxiety/2012/04/exaggerating-risk/

 

Anxiety & OCD Exposed



Subscribe to this Blog:
Feed

Archives


News



Purchase Overcoming Anxiety for Dummies now! Purchase Child Psychology and Development for Dummies now!

Laura L. Smith, Ph.D. and Charles H. Elliott, Ph.D. are authors of many books, including Overcoming Anxiety for Dummies and Child Psychology & Development for Dummies.

Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • Beverley: I am speaking as a non bpd sufferer but someone who is in a,relationship with a bpd sufferer who is...
  • Beverley: I think in response to Chris you need to shave this back a bit. There is a duty of care to yourself first...
  • Shana: I think this is great advice. Starting when my child was small, and she was afraid of the dark, we had a...
  • Gigi: Thank you for mentioning the seeming polarity of Freud with the id vs. superego concept. We could also add that...
  • glutensensitive: you can get tested at enterolab.com for all forms of gluten sensitivity, not just celiac disease....
Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code



Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!