The utility of being a worrier — and how to take advantage of it.

Jen Xu
4 min readOct 20, 2022

I’m a worrywart. Mainly because my mom told me so. It’s never been fun, though. It’s like this never-ending pressure on your shoulders, and even when you stop worrying random life issues — you start to worry that you’re not worried about anything. There’s always something to latch onto. And perhaps it’s because I have a brain that could run a mile in 3 minutes. Is that a saying? Well, if not, it should be.

But there are times that being a worrier can come in handy. Not all the time, but I think that looking at things more positively can help with…coming to terms with being a worrier.

One of the first things about being a worrier is that generally, it makes you a rather caring person. Because you’re not just concerned about yourself — you end up worrying about other people, sometimes more than they worry about themselves, which of course is…occasionally concerning. But when used correctly, being such a caring person can be wonderful for yourself and the relationships that you have with other people.

The flip side is that you’re constantly in your own head because you’re a worrier, so sometimes you just…forget to care about them because you’re so worried about yourself — and not in a good way like “hey, I care about myself & I want to be good to myself”. It’s more like “Jen, why do you keep f***-ing up, you’re so dumb, you’re the worst”. You can imagine how that goes, & how blank a face can get during those moments. I’m guilty of one-siding my friendships and it’s definitely something that I’ve needed to work on.

I suppose being a worrier helps because you do care about what people think of you — so you want to be a good friend, you want to be kind, and you’ll work to improve (I hope, anyway).

But the flip side is that you care too much about what people think of you, which can also be detrimental. And it is convenient to forget that other people are just as much in their own heads as you are in yours — my mind is always spacing, so there’s good reason to assume it happens to other people too. I mean, no one thinks about other people that hard unless they’re just really mean people.

Another thing worriers are good for is having contingency plans, because we’re always nervous something bad will happen. Which can make us rather averse to spontaneity, but…at least we’re safe! I’m constantly trying to find the balance between playing it safe but still having…

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Jen Xu

Athletic trainer, PhD student, coffee lover. I write about fitness, mental health, being Asian-American, and personal growth.