9 Signs Your Worrying Is Out of Control

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There is a LOT in the world to worry about these days, from the presidential election to Zika virus to gun violence and terrorism. But curling into the fetal position and rocking yourself in a corner won't make you feel better. (Trust us, we've tried.)

And you know what else won't help?


Because too much trepidation can be paralyzing. It isn't good for you. It sure as hell isn't good for your kids.

Read on for some clear signs that your anxiety's veering out of control. Then take a deep breath -- or maybe two -- and see what changes you can make to relax already.


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  • You're the busiest person you know.

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    Kicking back with a good book, napping, taking a long bath. Sound inconceivable? When you're over-worrying, "you don't allow yourself to rest during the day and are always busy doing something," explains Patricia A. Farrell, PhD, a psychologist in Tenafly, New Jersey. And because perfectionism is another sign of worrying too much, you probably feel that nothing’s done "right."

  • You constantly think you're sick.

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    Feel you're coming down with every illness you read about in the news? "This is a particular sign of anxiety-related vulnerability to worry," says Farrell. Of course, if you ARE having physical symptoms, go see your doctor. But chances are that deep down, you know if you're generating symptoms in your head.

  • You can't make up your mind.

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    Should you wear the blue sweater? Or the red? Have oatmeal for breakfast? Or toast? When you're worrying too much, "indecision can begin to rule your life," cautions Farrell. "You can't seem to make a choice."

    More from CafeMom: 12 Serious Scientific Facts About Women and Stress

  • You can't catch your breath.

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    Rapid, shallow breaths. A feeling that your heart may leap out of your chest. Panic that you're having a heart attack … These are all clear signs that worry is taking hold, says Farrell.

  • Your memory is slipping.

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    When your worry switch won't turn off, it's common to become forgetful, Farrell notes. The good news? "You're not suffering from any type of dementia," she assures. "This is a sure sign of anxiety-related overload."

  • Sleep? What sleep?

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    Can't get a good night's rest because your mind is spinning? "Insomnia is another sign that worry or anxiety has taken over," says Farrell.

    More from CafeMom: 5 Insomnia Treatments for Mom That Really Work

  • Your head won't stop pounding.

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    No, it's not normal to carry a bottle of ibuprofen around with you everywhere you go. It's a sign that your mental distress has progressed into a very real physical symptom.

    "Muscle tension brought on by stress can cause headaches," says Farrell.

  • You can't stop thinking, "What if?"

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    Did you turn the stove off? Are the windows and doors to your house all locked? "Obsessive thoughts are a sign of excessive anxiety and worrying," says Farrell. "The fear that something will happen if you don't pay extra close attention to EVERYTHING clutches you and won't let go." FYI, obsession prevents action. That which means no failures, Farrell adds, "but also no accomplishments."

  • Worry is literally eating away at you.

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    You're biting your nails, tearing at your cuticles, or twisting your hair into little knots. These are all classic signs of worry, says Farrell. For sure, they sound painful, just like the mental churning in your head. But you don't have to live like this, FYI. Take that brave first step and seek out a therapist who can help.

    More from CafeMom: Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Anxiety?

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