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Irrational Idea 6: Constant fear of Uncontrollable Circumstances

Click here for the introductory document in this series.

Irrational Idea #6

Worrying about: risk/danger to the point of anxiety; fear of uncontrollable circumstances; concern over circumstances which far exceeds normal, cautious behavior

This idea is irrational because some circumstances cannot be controlled. The anxiety ends up controlling you.

  • Self-confidence comes from taking action rather than avoidance and anxiety.
  • Spending all your energy on worrying about avoiding a circumstance rather than concerning oneself with what can be controlled (or what steps should be taken to manage the circumstance’s aftermath) causes an unceasing source of anxiety.
    • Once the situation has passed, the irrational person will quickly find a new source of anxiety unless the behavior is changed.
    • The energy wasted from dreading an illness, accident, or other fate can be draining. It leaves one ill equipped to cope with any circumstances that could arise.
      • Energy could be used productively to engage in behavior to prevent the incident.
      • Knowing that one has taken the proper precautions should end the anxiety.

Rational Idea: “Instead of worrying about risk/danger/illness, I’ll take precautions. If it happens, I’ll do the best I can to take care of it.”

  • The rational idea is a thought centered on prevention and taking an active role in one’s fate rather than fretting about inevitable circumstances such as death.
    • Some events (such as death) are inevitable and cannot be prevented by any amount of worrying.
    • Focusing on what can be changed/controlled when faced with a threat gives you a feeling of empowerment rather than helplessness.
    • Worry does not prevent danger. Only action prevents/minimizes danger and mitigates damage.
    • Worrying about an event causes more anxiety than dealing with the aftermath.
    • Public speaking: this is a common cause of fear for those who worry about acceptance and are afraid of making mistakes. The rational person conquers those fears by seeking out public speaking opportunities in an effort to learn and grow, understanding that it is a valuable skill.

For a happy and emotionally healthy life, contact CrossRoads for counseling at 317-842-8881 if you are in the Central Indiana area. This series was inspired by and sourced from “A Guide to Rational Living” by Albert Ellis and Robert Harper.