Christina Wolfgram
September 26, 2015 9:03 am

Fellow worriers, do you ever wonder where we get the capacity to carry around so much anxiety? Well, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, it’s completely appropriate to say that — as far as worrying goes — you got it from your mama.

Or your papa. Let’s not rush to point fingers.

Research shows that up to 50% of kids who grow up with anxious parents will also develop the condition. Professor Golda Ginsburg, from the University of Connecticut, told DailyMail that anxiety is a complicated beast, caused by multiple components, like genes and negative life experiences. But parents can inadvertently teach their children to live in fear — classic monkey see, monkey do.

“Anxiety and fear are protective and adaptive,” she said. “But in anxious kids they may not be, because these children have thoughts about danger and threat when there really isn’t one.” So, witnessing your parents worry during your childhood may be the cause of your current worrying!

Living with anxiety can be extremely trying, especially during childhood. The study revealed that kids as young as six suffer from the condition, and that uncontrollable nervousness affects their sleep patterns, eating habits, and social development. But here’s the great news: Researchers found that the cycle of parents passing on anxiety to their children could be broken through therapy.
Isn’t that a relief? You can break the habits you developed when you were a kid. Maybe it can be like training yourself not to speak in a thick accent when you move away from home, or teaching yourself to be frugal after growing up in a household of big spenders. There’s a good chance that talking to a professional can help you figure out how your family taught you to worry, and then cut those tendencies from your life.

Then, when you have kids, there will be less of a chance that you pass anxiety along to them. You’ll have to find some other ways to cause them suffering. Maybe humiliating them by publicly bursting into song on a regular basis or taking them to school dressed as a pirate might work just as well.

(Images via here and here.)

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