What if your sister-in-law takes over the cooking the whole weekend and makes you miserable? What if someone asks you a question about some touchy issue? Does this sound familiar? You can probably parallel this illustration with similar situations in your life. Whatever your personal worst-case scenario, you project it and then fear it as if it were a done deal. Projecting fear slams the door on the heart. Clarity and intuition cannot get in.
Most fears are by-products of projecting insecurity onto simple, everyday issues that eat you up. What if he judges me? Anxiety habits can lead to nervous system and biochemical imbalances and cause panic attacks or other physical symptoms. More anxiety or even sheer terror can arise from projecting that you may be stuck in a situation where you would go into a panic attack.
If you suffer from panic attacks, you may fear you are going crazy or fear what other people will think of you if you lose control. This is a logical progression of an anxiety habit. The hopeful news is that you can transform anxiety habits, as many people are doing. But first it helps to understand the underlying psychological mechanisms.
Overcare about people, issues, things, or yourself is the most common cause of anxiety. Overidentity occurs when your sense of self-worth becomes overly invested in a person or issue. When you get. You stay worried or anxious, and your energy gets drained.
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Too much overcare can wear you out until you end up not caring anymore. He was so overidentified with his projects and performance at work that it took a toll on his people skills. Don lost clients and his coworkers felt put off. He was overly concerned with his projects and performance and overattached to what his boss might think, because to him, his work was his identity.
Don was unable to see that his overidentity led to a blind perfectionism that eventually cost him his job. Angry after he was fired, Don stopped caring about getting another job. He refused to leave the house and sank into depression. One of the first steps in transforming anxiety is to understand the difference between real care and overcare. When the basic human need to care gets out of balance, people end up overcaring or not caring enough.
Most people know what not-enough care feels like but may not be aware of the debilitating effects of overcare.
She could see overcare in herself and in her friends clearly. Bonnie had been a passionate advocate for social causes, but was worn out from overcaring. She suffered panic attacks and was on antidepressants like so many other people she knew. When you are trapped in overcare, like Bonnie, life loses its luster and meaning, just as it does when you stop caring at all.
Research shows that genuine feelings of care, such as when people feel warmly connected with others and cared about or when they feel a sense of achievement, pride, or self- esteem, help to increase their long-term psychological well-being Fredrickson Nature has programmed care right into the DNA. In many species, care is associated with nurturing. When you love, you care, and when you care, you take care of, or nurture, others. Care generates a sense of security and connection, a life-affirming bond. You care that you look good, do a good job, get a promotion, are thought well of, or have enough money to provide for the well-being of your children or help take care of others.
Jon and Sandi spent their lives rushing—rushing to fix breakfast; rushing to get the kids to school; rushing themselves to work; rushing the kids to after-school lessons, soccer, swim team, theater; rushing to get dinner; rushing to clean the house and pay the bills; then dropping exhausted into bed only to have to rise early the next day to do it all again. Their schedule was frustrating and anxiety producing to both of them as well as to the kids.
They said they did it because they cared and wanted their children to have the best. The Overcare Phenomenon.
In the same way, worrying about others, a common type of overcare, can backfire because it often makes people feel smothered or manipulated, which can cause them to push you away. Even though the children were thirty-five and forty-two, she worried when they had a cold; worried that something might happen when they went on vacation; and when they visited, she worried whether they. After all, she was a mother, and this is what mothers do.
To Celeste, her worry which translates as overcare expressed her love for them. As a result, they rarely called or. Celeste equated worrying about her children with love, and she saw it as an endearing quality. What she was unable to see was how her overcare was more about her remaining in the role she had played all her life than it was about true care.
The role was familiar and had defined her sense of who she was. Years ago when Doc Childre, one of the authors of this book, was looking at his own life, he recognized that this was also true for him. What I cared most about kept giving me the most stress. And I saw that this was true for most people. Suddenly a lightbulb went on inside and many types of stress began to make sense. Most of the time when people get anxious, they are caring about something, but in a draining and usually ineffective way.
But then the mind would take that care and turn it into worry and stress. Overload, overwhelm, going overboard, overcare—all these terms mean doing too much to the point of undoing or downfall.
Transforming Anxiety : The HeartMath Solution for Overcoming Fear and Worry and Creating Serenity
Overcare is as old as history and causes endless misery. It affects men as well as women. Overcare occurs when the mind turns your genuinely caring intentions into a mental and emotional drain. Overcare and Aging. Elissa Epel, a researcher at University of California, San Francisco, studied the cells of mothers of sick children to see if caregiving stress affected part of the chromosome called a telomere.
Telomeres are thought to be biological markers of aging. As people get older, telomeres naturally shrink. When the telomere gets too short to work properly, cells all over the body start to sicken or die—and diseases of old age set in. Caregiving stress is often experienced as worry and anxiety. But alarmingly, the study also found that high stress also affected the telomeres in the stressed-out mothers of healthy kids in the control group.
The mothers who felt they were near burnout in either group had shorter telomeres. In fact, when the researchers looked only at stressed-out women in either group, they. According to Epel, the amount of telomeric DNA these women had last was equivalent to the amount one would expect to lose in ten years of aging Epel et al. Closely related to overcare is overattachment.
Or you overly attach yourself to someone, some place, some issue, or some thing in order to receive confirmation that you are valued.