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Your Hidden Worries and Your Stress Level

You may think that identifying your worries, which is a big step in reducing your stress level, is a cinch because they seem to be always on your mind, filling your thoughts, triggering your anxiety and upset, and robbing you of life’s enjoyment. You feel worried, but you aren’t sure what exactly you’re worried about. This can happen in several ways:

  • You’re worrying about multiple problems at the same time. Your worries shuttle between the first and third concern, then back to the second, and so on. The cumulative worry doesn’t allow you to focus on one particular worry, so you get overwhelmed by having too many worries.

  • The worry is there, but at an unconscious or subconscious level. Although you may not be consciously aware of a particular worry, the emotional component — some anxiety, upset, or anger — is still with you. This is often the case when you find yourself in a “bad mood.” The feelings are there, but you aren’t sure where they came from. The worry has no focus.

  • You’ve displaced your worry. You may be distressed by a “background” worry that you’re unable to resolve. When a second worry enters the picture, you may displace your distress onto this new worry.

Here are some life areas to consider, and some questions to ask yourself, to help you uncover some potentially hidden worries:

Social worries

  • Am I worried about some negative interaction that has happened to me in the past?

  • Am I worried about what other people will think of me in upcoming social interactions? Am I fearful of rejection and disapproval?

  • Am I worried I won’t know what to say or do in some future social situation?

  • Am I worried that I don’t have enough friends?

Family and relationship worries

  • Am I worried about my current relationship?

  • Am I worried about not having a relationship?

  • Am I jealous and worried about another person threatening my relationship?

  • Am I worried about ending up alone?

  • Am I worried about my children?

Health worries

  • Am I worried about the state of my health?

  • Am I worried about some condition or disorder that hasn’t been diagnosed?

  • Am I worried that even though I am well now, I might get sick in the near future?

Money worries

  • Am I worried that I won’t have enough money to take care of myself and my family?

  • Am I worried about the amount of money I owe?

  • Am I worried that I might lose the money I have?

Work worries

  • Am I worried that I might lose my job?

  • Am I worried that my bosses don’t think I’m doing a good enough job?

  • Am I worried that my colleagues don’t think well of me?

  • Am I worried that I couldn’t find another job if I left this one?

Hopefully at this point you have a clearer picture of what your worries look like. Your next step is examine your hidden worries and ask yourself whether they are valid.

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