Articles, Blog

Why We Worry All the Time and How to Cope

November 30, 2019

It’s not an illustrious category to belong
to of course, but there are plenty of us at least. We worry about work, money, being left,
illness, disappointing, over-promising, madness and disgrace, just to start the list. We worry
in the early hours, we worry on holiday, we worry at parties and we worry all the time
while we’re trying to smile and seem normal to good people who depend on us. It can izeel
pretty unbearable, at moments. A standard approach when trying to assuage our blizzard
of worries is to look at each in turn and marshal sensible arguments against their probabilities.
But it can, at points, also be helpful not to look at the specifics of every worry and
instead to consider the overall position that worry has come to occupy in our lives. There
is a hugely fascinating sentence on the topic in an essay by the great English psychoanalyst
Donald Winnicott: ‘The catastrophe you fear will happen has in fact already happened.’
When we worry, we are naturally fixated on what will occur next: it’s the future, with
its boundless possibilities for horror, that is the natural arena for exploration by our
panicked thoughts. But in Winnicott’s unexpected thesis, something else is revealed: the disaster
that we fear is going to unfold is actually behind us. There is a paradox here: why do
we keep expecting something to happen that has already happened? Why don’t we better
distinguish past from present? Winnicott’s answer that it’s in the nature of traumatic
events from childhood not to be properly processed and as a result, like the dead who have not
been adequately buried and mourned, to start to haunt us indiscriminately in adulthood.
But they do not make themselves felt in straightforward For example, we may panic that we are about to be humiliated and shamed.
There are no particularly strong grounds for this in objective reality, but we are utterly
convinced nevertheless, because this is precisely what happened to us when we were tiny and
at the hands of a parent. Or we worry intensely that we are about to be abandoned in love
not because our partner is in any significant way disloyal, but because someone who once
looked after us at a very vulnerable point definitely was. A benefit of understanding
how much our worries owe to childhood is a new sense that it isn’t so much the future
we should be distressed about as the past. We can replace dread and apprehension with
something sadder yet ultimately more redemptive: mourning. We can feel profoundly sorry for
our younger selves as an alternative to being panicked for our future selves. Appreciating
the childhood legacy of worries, we also stand to realise that we can adapt and improve on
how we respond to what alarms us. If we have been well parented, we will have been bequeathed
a repertoire of good moves to latch on to when crises occur: we know how to reach out,
seek help, perhaps move away and only take as much responsibility as we are due. We have
access to a corridor through our troubles. But when we have lacked this kind of tutelage,
we remain in significant ways, in relation to our troubles, like the frightened children
we once were. We may be tall, drive a car and sound like a grown-up, but faced with
concerns, resort to our toolkit of childlike solutions: we overreact, we go silent, we
scream, we have a little sense of other options, we feel extremely limited in our powers of
protest and agency, we lose all perspective. To which it is appropriate, and in no way
patronising, to remind ourselves of what can – in our deeper psychological selves – still
be an entirely implausible thought: that we are now adults. In other words, in response
to the kinds of terror we knew so well at the age of four or eight, we don’t have
to be either as afraid or as powerless as we were. We can mount a direct protest, we
can make an eloquent case for ourselves, we can complain and defend our position, we can
rebuild our lives in a new way elsewhere. There are two ways to mitigate risk: to try
to remove all risk from the world. Or to work on one’s attitude to risk. Knowing that
many of our fears have childhood antecedents as do our responses to them can free us to
imagine that history won’t have to repeat itself exactly. Adult life doesn’t have
to be as terrifying as our childhoods once were and our responses to our fears can have
some of the greater vigour and confidence that is the natural privilege of grown-ups.
We’ll still be worried a substantial portion of the time, but perhaps with a little less
fragility and fewer burning convictions of total upcoming catastrophe. Thank you for
commenting, liking and subscribing. We also offer, books, games, homeware and therapy
sessions. To find out more, follow the link on your screen now.

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  • Reply The School of Life March 15, 2018 at 2:10 pm

    Thank you for watching, remember to subscribe and turn on notifications and YouTube will notify you when we next upload. Is worry something you struggle with too? What have you found most helpful? Let us know in the comments below.

  • Reply Flying Icarus April 12, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    Türkçe altyazı ekleyecek fedakâr, yardımsever bir arkadaşımız yok mu?

  • Reply theldun1 April 12, 2018 at 6:52 pm

    I found this to be to simplistic and unhelpful. My worries as an adult have very little to do with my childhood.

  • Reply Darkprincess April 13, 2018 at 2:18 pm

    I love this channel ❤

  • Reply Nina April 17, 2018 at 9:15 pm

    The problem with School of Life videos is I often leave them feeling like they don't really explain HOW to change beyond offering some platitudes.

  • Reply Laura Szenes April 18, 2018 at 2:42 pm

    what if i worry NOT because anything like that happened in my childhood, but because something like that happened not so long ago? several times. even when i thought positively. even when i was not expecting it to happen again.

  • Reply JCAnimal19 April 23, 2018 at 8:14 pm

    That is so interesting. I didn’t think it was the past that the issue not the future. How our past is the place to look to when we’re worried. Does this mean, we should change our perspective since we know what’s gonna happen?

  • Reply Minh Trang Đặng April 25, 2018 at 12:59 pm

    The baby-us was powerless and 99% depended on our parents. However, the adult-us has some power in our hand to control our lives. As adults, we are stronger than the poor kid we once were. Thus, we would possibly overcome the worries we've carried.

  • Reply KUNTAL AION April 26, 2018 at 2:09 am

    that really helped. thanks

  • Reply Pranav Patil April 27, 2018 at 1:55 am

    Just observe your breath..

  • Reply TPRammus May 7, 2018 at 10:08 am

    This is so good… I need this in german

  • Reply Robert Sterner May 15, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    we are the product of our upbringing..

  • Reply Evie May 22, 2018 at 6:46 pm

    adorably put and delightfully animated!

  • Reply Nelson Charles May 23, 2018 at 1:00 am

    The School Of Life crews are among the pioneers of today's Philosophy in LIFE

  • Reply Jason M May 25, 2018 at 2:38 am

    Don't impose the limitations of the mind onto awareness

  • Reply The Dishonored Coward June 1, 2018 at 12:13 am

    Sometimes after months apon months of trying one's absolute hardest one has to accept that there are cases when going silent is the one and only answer to not repeating a mistake.

  • Reply Victor Yamaykin June 4, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    "The catastrophe that we fear will happen, has already happened… Mourning for our past self" the next step is to learn the things that we didn't learn from our parents and other adults which other people already learned…. this is awesome. Thanks

  • Reply lalaithan June 9, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Fockin' mind. Blown. To pieces. This video is what I needed to get over my current road block. Thank you @The School of Life. <3

  • Reply aditi013 June 13, 2018 at 12:28 pm


  • Reply Michael Cardoza June 17, 2018 at 7:35 am

    My voice on the phone is not working 10-4 over and out

  • Reply yogibear2k2 June 21, 2018 at 4:20 pm

    I would subscribe but I am too worried about what will happen if I do.

  • Reply is lam July 16, 2018 at 4:35 pm

    I love your work !! it's fascinating .

  • Reply Sherwin Vincent July 22, 2018 at 10:50 am

    Oh Hello!! Thank You for existing, the world would have been a lot sadder without you 🙂

  • Reply Smile Tribe July 24, 2018 at 3:23 pm

    Hey it's Ila from Smile Tribe here 🙂
    We are building happiness technology to create the perfect app for people who suffer from mental health issues. We have been through it. We want to help people out. We are now testing it. If you'd like to's FREE! –>

  • Reply ArizonaWillful July 27, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    I am paying a psychiatrist $250 a week to learn the same thing! But I do not begrudge the psychotherapy cost. Without that therapy, I would probably have seen this as very glib and untrue. Yet from delving into my own past, I see it is true.

  • Reply JOHN ERICK DURA August 14, 2018 at 1:12 pm

    Thanks. This is awesome

  • Reply Steven Marks August 14, 2018 at 7:35 pm

    What paper is the Winnicott quote from? Great exposition from the quote. Powerful subject.

  • Reply Afzal Hussain August 20, 2018 at 12:17 am

    what if you constantly pine over past disasters: constantly imagining alternate lives, where you are wise due to the benefits of hindsight.

  • Reply good for you August 25, 2018 at 9:14 pm

    "The school of life" I just want you next to me in every second/step/choice/thought in my life

  • Reply Jezebel Sly August 26, 2018 at 7:18 am

    No. It does not work. One must be stronger, bolder and a bit harder.

  • Reply اسلام أحمد August 29, 2018 at 8:40 am


  • Reply Miss Aisosa October 3, 2018 at 11:54 am

    I worry about everything! I can't help it.

  • Reply Dorielle Brashears October 3, 2018 at 6:54 pm

    This channel has been helping a lot.

  • Reply Darren Poh October 6, 2018 at 8:59 am

    I hope your platform can in time, introduce processings to heal humanity soon, when people finally are opened and understood what you guys really want to bring across.

  • Reply Because Kittens & Paint October 10, 2018 at 5:25 pm

    #worldbenzoday #wbadrocks

  • Reply Pikachu Love October 11, 2018 at 3:02 am

    Why are our brains like this? And how are we able to change this? Simply we can outbreed these dreadful characteristics out of human beings. However we see life as a privilege not a choice to have. So we will keep the children and allow them to keep breeding when we all know their depressed minds are not what we want in the future. I’m a depressed individual and I will help society by not breeding. Yours truly written by a loony worthless person.

  • Reply Personal_Rarity Duchess November 7, 2018 at 1:48 am


  • Reply Kate November 7, 2018 at 4:40 am

    Would be better if you could add subtitles on your videos 🙂

  • Reply 张Megumi November 7, 2018 at 8:59 am

    This is for a work scenario.If one has money already, one does not worry much. E,g. If the job doesn't suit me or if I don't get along with the boss, I will just quit. I have money in my bank account, why worry? I don't need that job to survive.

  • Reply Radhika Bhagwat November 16, 2018 at 5:28 am

    What an amazing video @school of life..all your videos are so relatable..and the style of explanation is so empathetic and non judgemental..i wish the authoritative figures in my childhood can learn something by seeing these videos

  • Reply Enrico Fusai November 16, 2018 at 1:47 pm


  • Reply Just Jess Pow November 23, 2018 at 10:03 pm

    Lol fuck yall reading this

  • Reply rhea Khandelwal December 9, 2018 at 5:09 pm

    In a nutshell.. looking back makes you smarter

  • Reply Quintana Hoyne December 11, 2018 at 7:54 am

    "Adult life doesn't have to be.. like our childhood."

  • Reply jayme Stonebraker December 11, 2018 at 10:41 pm

    When something dose happen our nataural fight or flight mode kicks in. And we have a bad habbit of worrying about something that hasent happened yet.

  • Reply Sander Van Goethem December 20, 2018 at 9:55 am

    But I don't understand. I do have anxiety about being left, but also I've had wonderful parents who always loved me very much…

  • Reply thisisbob1001 December 30, 2018 at 10:00 pm

    Expect nothing.

  • Reply Joshua Sylvia January 8, 2019 at 11:57 am

    I don't know what I love more. The animations or the messages!?

  • Reply DaManUnknownYT January 8, 2019 at 5:00 pm

    Iam worrying all the time i dont know to cope this i want my self get ride of it it make me too tired dont know what to do please can some one help me or tell me how i can cure of this?? 😂😂😂 im so tired i want to die i want to get releaf of this pain so pain full so hard every day is strugle strugle strugle make me feel sick use less hope less no life infront of me please god forgive me forgive me9

  • Reply Friedrich Nietzsche January 13, 2019 at 3:12 am

    In the night, your videos help me sometimes to calm down.

  • Reply Panspermia Hunter January 19, 2019 at 6:44 pm

    Simple answer is 'follow your breath meditation' Anapanasati, then you live in the moment and never worry about the past or future!

  • Reply LIFEISAJOURNEY LETITGO January 23, 2019 at 1:39 am

    I waste so much of my life worrying. Thanks for the content.

  • Reply Adam Brensen January 26, 2019 at 4:01 am

    Suffering stems from belief in a fictional I character. We misappropriate feelings, thoughts, images as belonging to a self that doesn't exist. They are in fact like cloud passing in front of the sun. Really, we are the sun ever shining. Worry comes and goes like a cloud, but the sun is the reality. That's the simplest way I can point to how I see things.

  • Reply Nhung Nguyen January 29, 2019 at 3:14 pm

    My heart often bumps very fast even when I’m waiting for the elevator. I have tried to control my worry by doing regular exercises and recently had a meditation retreat for a week, but it just improved very little.

  • Reply musical smoking cats February 4, 2019 at 1:33 am

    I suffer from emotionally unstable personality disorder. Its constant. Its the way my brain works. These videos are my lifeline. I feel so soothed by listening to this guy. Thankyou so much. Xx

  • Reply robert bennie February 26, 2019 at 9:05 pm

    "What, me worry?" That phrase liberated me when I was pre teen.

  • Reply JWvdMijde March 12, 2019 at 5:05 pm

    Thank you for these videos. They really work and make a difference. I always feel calmer and more balanced after watching them.

  • Reply Ricardo Tonatiuh Torrres Haces April 12, 2019 at 1:49 am

    This is pure gold🙌🙌👌

  • Reply tinker Seeya April 12, 2019 at 2:32 am

    Thank you. This is an accurate description of what happened to most of us in childhood. The tragedy is not all in the past. The present is equality tragic. There is no tried and tested treatment for childhood trauma (extreme or not so extreme). Mental Health treatment is still in it's infancy, an experimental phase. Counsellor's/Psychologists are just experimenting with our injured emotions and charging us for it. They will defend their position by philosophising rather than acknowledging the truth, that they do not know what to do.The answer is in understanding #BrainScience and combing that with profoundly self-aware psychotherapists.

  • Reply tinker Seeya April 12, 2019 at 2:42 am

    The truth in this life in the world is that no one knows what they are doing, everyone is just winging it. Sad but true. We have all evolved and continue to evolve from a traumatised society and individuals globally, from the beginning of life on the planet.

  • Reply quixoticfallcy April 18, 2019 at 3:49 am

    Instead of using parents as an excuse that you were brought up with certain habits … the individual also can take the responsibility of changing their perspectives and raising their EQ

  • Reply Lindsey Hebert April 18, 2019 at 1:54 pm

    I am always worried i feel like I am not the special person I used to be all of my fears get to me it’s like I’m always worried if people replace me , if something fun will never happen again I will complain about it and always worried , worried about feeling disloyal I used to be loyal people used to like me so much

  • Reply blackbirdx7777 May 14, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    I really didnt understand anything at all

  • Reply Tony TheTGR May 24, 2019 at 1:50 pm

    5:08 "THIS IS FINE"

  • Reply The Thinking Being May 25, 2019 at 11:24 pm

    I once tried to worry when I wanted to do something fun because I wanted to feel like I was a hero just for overcoming it. Now I know being a hero is learning to mourn your past but not dwelling on your past regrets

  • Reply Crazy Cat May 26, 2019 at 10:41 pm

    I worry about the end of the world it scares me I won't even watch films about it. I worry about terrorism that scares me that's why I act out

  • Reply JiNeTiK June 14, 2019 at 2:35 am

    “Ghosts don't haunt people–their memories do.”

    ― Alexandra Bracken, Never Fade

  • Reply Tursiops June 15, 2019 at 4:39 pm

    But… what if you are worry about climate change and how people don't seem to care too much about it? :/

  • Reply Garland5 June 18, 2019 at 9:03 pm

    Great video and lovely, engaging animation. I love the colours too.

  • Reply Olivia. Life July 11, 2019 at 4:55 pm

    OMG. WTF is all the dam background NOISE?! Jesus , hard to concentrate

  • Reply Desmond Jordan July 13, 2019 at 8:47 am

    Great message but the overzealous animation and background noises was too distracting.

  • Reply G-Ma X July 18, 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Give it all to God and keep it moving believe in his words read his words repent for all things know and unknown. Then come back and tell all of us how your life has changed.

  • Reply Rahul Mukherjee July 27, 2019 at 1:22 am

    Fell in fucking love with you – telling my whole life with his song !!

  • Reply danzigvssartre July 27, 2019 at 9:49 am

    The notion that most of our fear comes from childhood keeps psychoanalysts (like me) in a job, but I'm not sure its the source of our deepest fears. Our deepest fears are existential in nature: fear of death (yep, that one lies somewhere in our future), fear of making the wrong decisions (yep, some of those future decisions, big or small, are going to be wrong); isolation (yes, we already are alone).

  • Reply shatteredsquare August 3, 2019 at 9:33 pm

    The best antidote for worry is preparation…work. If you're worried, start cleaning…clean the shit out of everything. Once you quit being scared of it, anything dirty will start to piss you off…then when you're done letting out your pent up passive aggression on anything out of place, whatever was making you worried will be easy to pinpoint…because your space will be clean and organized and whatever is still fucking with you will stick out like a sore thumb. JP says: CLEAN YOUR ROOM. it's a gateway drug to un-fucking yourself!

  • Reply Veronica De Pasquale August 5, 2019 at 12:16 am

    in other words, grow up

  • Reply Gold Shine August 5, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    Whyyyyyyyy u forget to worry when u r going to die tomorrow???????HAHAHA….HOHOHO………..DONT FORGET TO WORRY YOUR DYING……

  • Reply ozzyg82 August 6, 2019 at 10:26 pm

    I want hands like that.

  • Reply John Kaste August 8, 2019 at 12:35 pm

    finally!! A great Way in analyzing why I worry so damn much! Thank you

  • Reply hawa boccacci August 13, 2019 at 1:01 pm

    I think this is seriously one of the best, if not the best, video you made. Thank you so much for your work!!!

  • Reply V August 17, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Patronizingly over simplified.

  • Reply Milch Shake August 18, 2019 at 6:46 pm


  • Reply HiDaze August 22, 2019 at 4:16 am

    Thank you kindly for this post 🙏🏻

  • Reply Jonathan Kardonski August 22, 2019 at 11:07 pm

    Thx s-cool of life

  • Reply Youssef Azami August 27, 2019 at 11:00 am


  • Reply Manutallu August 28, 2019 at 9:24 pm

    You have no idea how I much I needed this right now. I love you

  • Reply If not Why not August 30, 2019 at 8:44 pm

    I worry about how not to worry smh🤣

  • Reply Daniel September 4, 2019 at 5:39 pm

    What do you suggest about the shared worries of the damage that's being done to our environment?

  • Reply Alexis Alexander September 15, 2019 at 5:03 pm

    It's not just the past. I worry about what horrible things the governments are going to subject all of us in the world to.

  • Reply marwa elashrfi September 15, 2019 at 6:42 pm

    I am learning so much from this channel thank you!

  • Reply Jeff V September 17, 2019 at 3:14 am

    This one really hits home. My seemingly endless pattern of recurring thoughts with grief as the central theme can only end once these voices have been heard. I'm not sure why that hasn't been allowed, so far.

  • Reply Mila Cruz September 26, 2019 at 1:58 pm

    It makes so much sense.

  • Reply Dark Purple Gold Roses October 5, 2019 at 8:54 am

    thank you for the video

  • Reply danish hassan October 6, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Your videos are EXTREMELY DISTRACTING. it gets difficult to focus on wt being said.

  • Reply محمد احمد October 26, 2019 at 1:03 am

    Thx, but we waaaaant Arabic translates 🙏🏻

  • Reply Jordan Mckenzie November 1, 2019 at 12:59 am


  • Reply Paca’s Party November 4, 2019 at 7:16 am


  • Reply NDB Keezy November 4, 2019 at 3:47 pm

    Thank you for these videos.

  • Reply Petits Pois November 13, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    If humans lived only to 40, we wouldn't worry so much at all.

  • Reply Joseph H. November 23, 2019 at 11:40 am

    this is a terrible video.

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