9 signs you’re constantly worrying about things out of your control

Do you remember the film, Minority Report, from 2002?

It’s the Tom Cruise-led, Steven Spielberg-directed film set in a futuristic world where they’ve got Precogs—basically, individuals who can predict crimes before they even happen. 

It’s like the police force’s own crystal ball.

In the film, the authorities arrest people for crimes they haven’t committed yet. It’s a wild ride that makes you think about free will and the ethics of punishing someone for a crime that’s just a prediction. 

And that’s where it hits home for us. The whole idea of worrying about stuff that hasn’t happened yet, or maybe won’t happen at all. We all do it. 

It’s like we’ve got our own mini Precogs in our heads, predicting all the very worst-case scenarios.

In the movie, they’re trying to control the future, but it all goes sideways. And it’s a reminder for us, too—worrying about things we can’t control can mess us up.

Ever wondered that you might be constantly worrying about things outside your control? Here are some of the tell-tale signs that you are.

1) Trouble unwinding and finding it hard to be present

You know those days when you’re meant to unwind, kick back, and just simply chill? 

Well, if you find this sort of thing challenging, you might be in the same boat as me.

That difficulty unwinding is a major sign that stress is taking up precious space in your mind.

It’s not just about being busy—it’s about being tangled up in thoughts about stuff you can’t control. 

But guess what? You’re not alone in this. We’ve all been there.

Recognizing this trouble is possible, you can become aware of it and learn to kick it out.

The next time you find yourself struggling to unwind, let’s take a step back. Ask yourself, “What’s stressing me out?”

It’s time to reclaim your chill and enjoy life’s wonderfully chill moments!

2) Feeling the physical symptoms of stress

Ever noticed those tense muscles in your neck and shoulders, acting like they’re carrying the weight of the world? 

Yeah, that might be stress.

And then, of course, there’s the headaches. When your body starts staging a protest with headaches and tight muscles, it’s the body’s way of telling you, “Hey, buddy, maybe it’s time to chill.” 

This is because worry isn’t just a mental game. Oh no, it’s a full-body experience. Your body is revealing the stress that’s been silently playing on your mind.

Worry can sneak in from anywhere—work, relationships, bills, that never-ending to-do list—and creep up on you when you least expect it.

So, the next time your head is throbbing, and your muscles are tense, take a breather. 

Grab a cup of tea, stretch those muscles, and tell stress it’s not the boss. You got this.

3) Sleep troubles

It’s the dead of night, you’re tucked into bed, ready to dive into sleep

But instead of counting sheep, your mind decides it’s the perfect time to hatch out every single worry you’ve ever had.

Next thing you know, you’re tossing and turning, trying to negotiate with your busy, overactive brain.

Let’s break it down. When your worries become the main act in the bedroom, it messes with your sleep.

Take it from me, this cycle ain’t fun!

If you find yourself battling insomnia more often than not, it’s your body’s way of waving a red flag.

What you might need to do next is tackle those stressors head-on. This is like giving your brain permission to chill and letting your worries take a backseat.

And then, hey, maybe you’ll get some good rest!

4) Inability to stop obsessing

People who overthink at night often display these traits without realizing it 9 signs you’re constantly worrying about things out of your control

Do you find it impossible to hit the brain brakes? Your thoughts are on this never-ending loop, circling forever.

You’re trying to focus on work, but you’re totally stuck.

I get it. It can often be a daily struggle. 

But why does this happen? Well, you’re stressing about things you can’t control because, let’s face it, the world’s full of unpredictable twists and turns.

It’s important to remember that while being in control is nice, it is near impossible to be in control all the time. 

So, next time your thoughts are on an endless, unproductive loop, take a breath, and be curious with yourself. Wonder whether your worry is actually over something within your remit.

If the answer is a solid “nope,” cut yourself some slack…and save your energy for the battles you can actually win!

5) Finding it tough to move on

You know those moments when you just can’t shake off a situation? 

Like, that time when you had an argument with your friend, and it’s all you could think about for days, reliving all the things you wish you told them in the moment?

If this happens occasionally, it’s pretty normal. We’re human, after all. 

But when it becomes a regular thing, for example, you can’t let go of that embarrassing presentation you did last month or the awkward run-in with your neighbor—that’s when it becomes a bigger problem.

We’re wired to want everything to be in order, right? But instead of stressing over things beyond our control, we could choose to accept them as part of life’s big adventure. 

It’s easier said than done. But the more we practice it, the better we become at navigating it.

6) Jumping to the worst-case scenario and catastrophizing

Sometimes, I find myself concocting these wild scenarios in my brain—like, what if my car decides to call it quits in the middle of nowhere?

It’s like my brain has this flair for theatrics.

Now, you might be thinking, “Isn’t it normal to consider possible outcomes?” And yeah, sure, it is. 

But the brain takes it up a notch. It’s not merely considering—it’s orchestrating a full-blown worst-case scenario. 

This is called catastrophizing. It’s like our brains become the directors of disaster movies, and we cannot look away.

But here’s the thing. Catastrophizing is a tell-tale sign that we’re shouldering the stress of things beyond our control.

You might find this gets your heart racing, palms sweaty—the whole shebang.

Next time you catch yourself daydreaming about a world where your alarm fails, and you miss the most critical meeting ever, give yourself a minute. 

Let’s try our best to dial down the drama, one wild scenario at a time.

7) Constantly overanalyzing situations

You’re sitting there, trying to sip your green tea, and suddenly your brain goes, “Hey, remember that thing that happened three years ago? Yeah, let’s unpack that for the hundredth time, please.” 

Like, why?!

Sometimes, we spiral into this abyss of overthinking. I mean, seriously, it’s like our brains are on a mission to analyze all the minutiae of our lives.

And then there’s the whole predicting-the-future thing—trying to figure out every possible outcome of a situation. I catch myself doing that all the time. 

I was thinking about this the other day, and it hit me: this is one hell of a destructive thought pattern.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great to plan and be prepared, but when it becomes a 24/7 mental marathon, that’s when you know stress has taken over.

It’s nice to remember that some things are just way out of our control, and that’s perfectly okay. 

Let’s all save our brainpower for the important stuff, like deciding what delicious thing to have for dinner tonight!

8) Craving excessive approval and validation

red flags that social media is negatively impacting your life 9 signs you’re constantly worrying about things out of your control

Ever catch yourself desperately seeking approval and validation from every corner of the internet? 

And when you don’t get it, does that send you spiraling?

You wonder, did I choose the wrong filter? Was my caption not clever enough? 

We start questioning our entire existence based on the virtual approval rating of our posts.

Now, let’s talk about why we’re all so desperate for that digital pat on the back. It’s like we’ve outsourced our self-esteem to the internet.

Seeking excessive approval is an indicator that we’re stressing over things well beyond our control.

We can’t control how others perceive us or what they think. 

People are unpredictable—tying your self-worth to the whims of others will never work! So, it’s important to try and break free from this.

Embrace your quirks, celebrate your victories, and let the world deal with its own opinions.

9) Chasing perfection and setting really high standards for yourself and others

When we set ridiculously high standards for ourselves and those around us, it might be a signal we’re stressing over things we can’t control.

Wanting to do our best is cool, but playing God in our own lives can get pretty exhausting. 

Suddenly, you’re stressing about the small stuff, fixating on every little detail, and it’s not just about you—you sprinkle this perfection on everyone else too. 

Friends, family, even the barista who consistently forgets your name, they’re all expected to be perfect. 

You’re essentially trying to control the uncontrollable. You can’t micromanage every move, and that’s perfectly fine.

Here’s one tip: aim for excellence, not perfection. Cut yourself some slack and ease up on others.

Final thoughts

To sum things up, just like the futuristic world in Minority Report, we often grapple with stress caused by things well outside our control. 

To break free from these harmful patterns, we need to recognize these signs and take steps to regain control. 

This includes chilling when you’re stressed, tackling physical symptoms, and living in the moment. 

Let go of the need for constant approval and aim for greatness rather than perfection. 

Remember, life’s one big, messy adventure, and we all have the power to choose curiosity over catastrophizing.

Picture of Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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