Questions 37 & 38

W - Worry

A distinction needs to be made between worry and habitual worry; between realistic anticipation and anticipatory anxiety.

Worrying is a coping mode and a survival mechanism that leads us to form negative scenarios in our mind. These negative scenarios help us form contingency plans and response strategies to possible or imminent calamities. Thus worry may provide some comfort.

Healthy worry is not habitual. Nor is there a tendency to “catastrophize” disappointments: “Life works” in spite of setbacks. On the other hand, maladjusted worry is habitual.

The intention may be to both gain a degree of control over the future and to feel better.

People may develop a reliance on worry to reduce stress. Thus, people who depend on worry for comfort may slip into searching for things to worry about. This tendency may be a response to an overarching pessimism born from early disappointments. Thus, worrying about “one thing or another” is never seen as ill-guided in a fragile world. In a world fraught with disappointment, worrying sometimes becomes a way of self-soothing.

The cost of chronic worry may be profound. The person who relies on worry continues to validate the idea that life is not trustworthy. This view of Life characterizes the Negativity Schema. Using worry requires a threatening or foreboding scenario: Something is always going wrong.

This coping mode may cluster with other maladjusted coping modes like Fixing Others, Being Outstanding or Being Innocent.

The chronic worrier distinctively thinks: “If I vigilantly attend the possible calamity then I’ll be OK. But if I do not vigilantly attend the possible calamity then I will not be OK. Not being OK means being helpless in the face of misfortune.

Healing from chronic worry means that we need to respond differently to our own Negativity. We must accept the emotional wound that darkened our world view and begin to function through the more realistic idea that life tends to work in our favor.

Record your answers to the following questions in your JOURNAL:

This Compensatory Mode is active in my life. The evidence that confirms this is as follows:

This Compensation Mode is not active in my life. The evidence that refutes this is as follows:

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