by Andrea M. Darcy
We all sometimes worry that something bad is going to happen. And the reality is that sometimes things DO go wrong. Life is far from perfect.
But is your head full of worried thoughts all the time? And do you spend most days (if not all) stressed that something bad will happen to you, your loved ones, or to the world?
Then it’s less likely less about any real danger, and more about issues with your thinking.
[Worried to the point you just can’t function? Talk to our therapists and counsellors from anywhere in the world via online and phone using our new platform, harleytherapy.com.]
Why you are sure something bad is around the corner
See if one or several of the below psychological issues might be behind your feeling that something bad is going to happen.
1. Sleep Problems.
Basics first. If you have sleep problems, you can start to have paranoia and anxiety, simply as your brain is exhausted and can’t cope. If you don’t get help with sleep problems, it can lead to depression.
2. Substance Abuse.
Start being honest with yourself if your drinking is out of hand, or you are indulging in too many party drugs. These both contribute to poor sleep and exhaustion and work as depressants, both of which can leave you paranoid and on edge.
The brain does not seem to have evolved as fast as society has. It can react to modern life stress the same as it once would to being attacked by a leopard. Namely it triggers the ‘fight or flight’ mode.
The rush of cortisol and other hormones this creates puts us on red alert, scanning for further danger.
4. Cognitive Distortions.
‘Cognitive distortions‘ are when, without even realising it, our mind warps reality. Some examples are black and white thinking, doom and gloom thoughts, and fortune-telling.
Why would you have a distorted way of seeing the world? You might have been bought up by parents who modelled this way of thinking. Or something happened to you as child that taught your brain to operate like this (see childhood trauma, below).
5. Anxiety about something bad happening.
Anxiety involves unrealistic and uncontrollable racing thoughts that affect us physically, leaving us breathless, sweating, and with a racing heart. Paranoia and a certainty that something bad is going to happen is par for the course here.
How do you end up with anxiety? It can start as stress. Over time and left unchecked, stress can turn into anxiety or anxiety disorder.
Anxiety can also be triggered by trauma. This can be recent, like an accident or shock bereavement. Or it can be from childhood.
6. Negative Core Beliefs.
If you can honestly say you’ve spent most of your adult life with a feeling something bad will happen, you might have a core belief that the world is not safe.
Core beliefs are assumptions we make about ourselves, others, and the world that we then mistake for fact. Usually formed in childhood, core beliefs then secretly drive all our choices in life.
Childhood trauma, or even just having a parent who was unreliable, can lead to the formation of a belief that the world is always dangerous.
7. Childhood Trauma.
Sadly, at least one in four of us live through difficult and threatening experiences as children. And our childhood brains then simply decide the world is dangerous. If we aren’t offered help, or don’t seek help for our childhood trauma as adults, that belief can dictate all our choices.
8. Personality Disorders.
Some of us just experience the world in a different manner than the average person.
Personality disorders mean that since early adulthood, you have consistently thought and acted differently to others in ways that make daily life a challenge.
And in the case of some personality disorders, this can mean you sense danger where others don’t.
Paranoid personality disorder leaves you thinking people are out to get you, and that bad people are controlling the world.
Schizotypal personality disorder can mean you see danger in strange ways, such as the TV talking to you.
Avoidant personality disorder would see you thinking others will hurt you, and borderline personality disorder means you are so oversensitive you overreact, feeling threatened by something small.
I can’t stop feeling something bad will happen
Do you spend your life in fear of what bad thing will happen next? Feel completely unable to stop thinking this way? Do consider reaching out for professional support.
A professional counsellor, counselling psychologist, or psychotherapist can help you get to the root of your core belief that the world is a dangerous place. You can find new ways to cope that mean you feel more comfortable around others and in daily life.
Need to talk to someone about your fear that something bad is going to happen? We connect you with some of London’s top therapists in central locations. Not in London? Visit our sister site harleytherapy.com to find therapists across the UK.
Andrea M. Darcy is the founding editor and lead writer of this site, who left a career as a screenwriter to become a popular mental health writer. She herself had to get over the belief that the world was dangerous, and it made a huge difference to her life.