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 if your head is always full of worried thoughts? And if 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 your mind.
[Worried to the point you just can’t function? Talk to our therapists and counsellors from anywhere in the world via Skype and phone using our new platform, harleytherapy.com.]
The Psychological Issues Leaving You on Red Alert
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 if your drinking is out of hand or you are indulging in too many party drugs. These both contribute to poor sleep and exhaustion, which, again, can leave you paranoid and on edge.
The brain does not seem to have evolved as fast as society. It can react to life stress the same as it would to being attacked by a leopard – 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 you even realising it, your mind warps reality. Some examples are black and white thinking, doom and gloom thoughts, and fortune-telling. Read our article on “Popular Cognitive Distortions” for more.
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 triggered your brain to operate like this (see childhood trauma, below).
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, so they are powerful.
Childhood trauma, or having a parent who was unreliable, inevitably leads to the formation of a belief that the world is always dangerous.
7. Childhood Trauma.
Sadly, many of us go through difficult an threatening experiences as children. Without access to other options except to suffer through the abuse, neglect, or tragedy, our childhood brains simply decide the world is dangerous. And if we don’t seek help for our childhood trauma we carry that belief into adulthood and it controls our life.
8. Personality Disorders.
Some of us who 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 different to others in ways that make daily life a challenge. It often means 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.
What can I do if 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 will 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? Or outside the UK entirely? Visit our sister site harleytherapy.com to see therapists across the UK, or from anywhere in the world via Skype or phone.