Final GAD3Worrying is a common aspect of life and consists of anxiety provoking thoughts about future events, where the outcome of the event is uncertain. The range of topics people worry about is broad and includes topics such as worrying about:

–   Past decisions made or future decisions to make
–   Personal health and family/friends’ health
–   Social and/or romantic relationships
–   Finances
–   School and work

People who experience generalized anxiety find themselves almost constantly worrying and find it difficult to stop worrying. It is also common for people with generalized anxiety to have positive associations with worry, which validates their belief that worrying is helpful.

Below is a list of common misconceptions about worrying that keep people stuck in the cycle of believing it is helpful and necessary to worry:

–   Leads to discovering solutions to problems
–   Serves as a motivator
–   Helps to prepare better for negative outcomes
–   Can prevent bad things from happening
–   Shows that I am caring and a good person

A major treatment component when working with people who experience generalized anxiety is to build the individual’s ability to tolerate uncertainty. This process is facilitated by the following strategies:

–   Assessing one’s beliefs about the usefulness of worrying
–   Determining how the person’s worry is positively and negatively impacting the individual’s life
–   Learning more effective problem solving strategies to apply to daily stressors
–   Practicing imaginal exposure work to target the worry thoughts