Roni Caryn Rabin in The New York Times:
I’m a worrier. Deadlines, my children, all the time they spend online — you name it, it’s on my list of worries. I even worry when I’m not worried. What am I forgetting to worry about? Turns out I’m not alone. Two out of five Americans say they worry every day, according to a new white paper released by Liberty Mutual Insurance. Among the findings in the “Worry Less Report”: Millennials worry about money. Single people worry about housing (and money). Women generally worry more than men do and often about interpersonal relationships. The good news: Everyone worries less as they get older.
“People have a love-hate relationship with worry,” said Michelle Newman, a professor of psychology and psychiatry at Pennsylvania State University, who was not involved in the writing of the report. “They think at some level that it helps them.” The belief that worrying somehow helps to prevent bad things from happening is more common than you might think. Researchers say the notion is reinforced by the fact that we tend to worry about rare events, like plane crashes, and are reassured when they don’t happen, but we worry less about common events, like car accidents. But that doesn’t mean all worrying is futile. “Some worry is actually good for you,” said Simon A. Rego, the author of the new report and a cognitive behavioral psychologist who specializes in anxiety disorders and analyzed decades of research on worrying for the paper. “It’s what we call productive or instructive worry, that can help us take steps to solve a problem.”