People with anxiety do a lot of things that often seems like they’re “just worrying.” However, that’s because a lot of people who suffer from anxiety try to act normal and present their worries in a manner that makes their anxiety sound more rational and reasonable than it actually is.
Here are some things they do that may pass off as “just worrying” to those who aren’t aware of the severity of anxiety:
1. Asking negative questions
People with anxiety like to ask a lot of questions with a negativity bias, which means they’re inclined to phrase questions in a way that would elicit a less than favorable response just to confirm that they’re right about bad things happening. For example, instead of asking, “How am I doing?” they are more likely to ask, “What did I do wrong?”
2. Using facts to support their fears
They are afraid of getting hurt and rejected, and if you ask why they don’t want to go out and try new things, they’ll use facts to justify why it’s prudent not to do anything that’s out of the ordinary because they think of themselves as rational thinkers whenever they use evidence to back up their fear-based arguments against pursuing things they aren’t comfortable with.
3. Insisting that the worst is guaranteed to happen
They are quick to insist that the worst possible outcome is highly probable and they’ll tell you to expect it and influence you to believe that it makes perfect sense. They can somehow find a way to make any optimistic prediction of the future sound foolish and downright impossible.
4. Getting super upset about bad things on the news
They have a difficult time digesting anything bad that’s being reported on the news. While this may seem like they’re being overly worried, their anxiety cripples them whenever they hear about any situation that’s out of their control because they hate not having the power to prevent disasters and crises from happening.
5. Saying “I can’t” far more than “I can”
They say, “I can’t” as a means of protecting themselves from doing something they aren’t good at because they are extremely anxious about not performing well enough and believe that somehow they’re way more likely to fail miserably than succeed.
6. Avoiding going out at all costs
Although choosing to stay in has its perks, anxious people have trouble running errands outside of the home like grocery shopping, doctor’s appointments, and going to the bank. They worry so much about interacting with strangers in public that they will procrastinate on important errands just to avoid people.
7. Using past events as warnings
They always bring up something from the past to prove that things aren’t going to work out in any situation. They haven’t really moved on from the past, which is a significant reason for their anxiety, but they still use mistakes from the past as a way to guilt-trip themselves into taking fewer risks and playing it safe.
8. Having a very strained facial expression
Even when they don’t say or do anything, they seem to have permanently strained-looking faces because they are on high alert for anything that could go wrong and end badly.
9. Constantly nagging
They’re always reminding you to do little things that you don’t need to be reminded of such washing your hands, turning out the lights, locking the doors, bringing water, and parking your car in a safe place because they will do anything to prevent possible emergencies from happening, even if they have to be annoying about it.
10. Making a big deal out of little mistakes
They fret over every little mistake they’ve made and also make it seem like their day is ruined because this triggers their anxiety and sends them into a spiral of worry, which makes them doubt that everything will be okay again because they get overwhelmed with anything that sets them back, no matter how frivolous it may be.
11. Talking too much about the future
They rarely have anything hopeful to say about the future because they’re so fixated upon the doom and gloom for days ahead of them that they can’t stop to enjoy life. Their conversations revolve around how bleak the future looks based on their own lack of confidence and performance anxiety. Anxious people believe that because they can’t achieve extraordinary measures of success quickly, they are doomed to remain stuck for the rest of their lives.
12. Having an excessive number of backup plans to a backup plan
While having a few backup plans is a smart idea, people who suffer from anxiety make too many backup plans because they’re convinced that their primary plan and backup plan won’t work out. They’re very uncertain about their abilities to succeed at what they want the most, but they’ll try to pass this off as being cautious and prepared for the outcome they fear the most. Unfortunately, this holds them back from taking risks and doing something different that could potentially change their lives for their own good.