Your Rainforest Mind

Support for the Excessively Curious, Creative, Smart & Sensitive

The More You Know, The More You Worry


photo from Anne Allanketner

photo from Anne Allanketner

Perhaps you thought that if you were smart, you wouldn’t be a worrier. If you were smart, you’d know all of the answers. You wouldn’t have to be anxious because you could think your way out of any problem.

But, in fact, you may worry constantly. You worry when you’re sleeping. When you’re hiking. When you’re cooking. When you’re driving. When you’re not worrying.

So what’s with that?

Let me explain.

Your very active rainforest mind is able to dream up so many things to worry about. Less complex minds may worry less because there isn’t as much thinking. With you, there’s lots of thinking. And if you’re highly creative? Watch out. Even more worries.

Add to this, your capacity to notice things that others don’t. More to notice, more to worry about.

And, of course, if you have deeply held ethical beliefs around justice issues and if you’re sensitive to the suffering of all beings, then, well, there might be a teensy weensy bit of anxiety in your world.

See what I’m saying?

I understand that you think that you ought to worry less because, as a smart person, you’re supposed to be a great problem solver. And maybe you are a great problem solver.

That may not stop the worry.

Of course, there might be complicating factors. Trauma in childhood might make you anxious today. Pressure and expectations due to your smartness might make you nervous. Hormone imbalances and illness might cause anxiety. You could be a parent.

Complicating factors.

It’s not easy to sort it all out. But I’m here to suggest that there’s a connection between your rainforest mind and your capacity for worry.

What, then, can be done, when a lobotomy isn’t an option?

1. Read this other post with its list of fabulous suggestions. Then, do some of them.

2. Try one of the research-based guided imagery CDs produced by psychologist Belleruth Naparstek. She has CDs on anxiety, stress reduction and many more topics.

3. Read the research from the Heartmath Institute and see if you might want to try one of their devices to improve what they call your “heart rate variability” and reduce your stress.

4. Experiment with a technique called yoga nidra. It’s one way to calm your nervous system and feel connected to the earth and your spirituality. There are free recorded guided meditations here.

5. Get hugged by someone you love, including your animals. Breathe and feel the connection deeply in your body.

6. Consider working with a team of sensitive, capable practitioners (naturopaths, physical therapists, psychotherapists, doctors, healers, shamans, teachers, artists, etc.) who will help you find the best tools for your particular needs. You’re complicated so there’s no one practitioner or one technique that will be the perfect answer. You don’t have to be alone with your anxiety. Even though you tend to solve problems for others and you may be the smartest person in the room at any particular time, don’t give up on finding help for yourself.

You may be naturally inclined to worry. Because you think a lot, it’s easy to slip into an anxious state. You have a mind that needs to be active, questioning, and dancing. Imagine that if you get more intellectual stimulation, you will worry less.

And, if all else fails, go for beauty. See the gorgeousness of the flower, the rainstorm, the laughing children. And the beauty of you. Worries and all.


To my bloggEEs: Let us know what you worry about and how you find ways to calm and soothe yourself. If you’re a parent, these ideas apply to your children, too!

This post is part of a collection of posts about anxiety, gifted children and gifted adults. For more fascinating reading, click on the link below.

Author: Paula Prober

I'm a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in counseling gifted adults and consulting with parents of gifted children. The label "gifted" is often controversial and confusing. I use the metaphor of the rainforest to describe this population. Like the rainforest, these individuals are quite complex, highly sensitive, intense, multi-layered, and misunderstood. They're also curious, idealistic, highly intelligent, creative, perfectionistic, and they love learning. I've been an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I've written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, and Advanced Development Journal. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, was released in June 2016 by GHF Press and is available on Amazon or at your independent bookstore. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists, was released in June 2019.

32 thoughts on “The More You Know, The More You Worry

  1. So true Paula – there always seem to be complicating factors! I’m pleased to be able to report that mindfulness practice is assisting me in my life; in a way that nothing else ever has. Playing music also helps me (which I suppose is a kind of mindfulness practice in itself… my playing goes all wrong if I let my mind wander). As somebody who grew up with narcissistic/sociopathic abusive family members, I had a huge amount of self hatred and anxiety. Learning about what narcissistic personality truly is, and then communicating with other people affected by narcissistic family members, has really helped me start teasing apart the knot of fear and self loathing I’ve lived in the middle of my entire life. There is a whole other world out there (way of thinking/being/interacting) that I was completely blind to. Abusers took advantage of my ignorance and turned me against myself. It’s all a very slow process, but I’m finally on the right path. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, Paula. You are right – it’s worth continuing to find help. The thing that helps in the end might be something very unexpected.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m so glad you’re finding your way out of that abusive family, Ro. What courage you have to stick with what I’m sure is a harrowing journey at times. Mindfulness and music are such great tools. I always appreciate hearing from you.


  2. Hi Paula,
    This is so true! I have both sides indeed.
    The worry, which I feel as a reasonable way to look at the world. And which I try to turn into positive action whereever I can.
    And the problem solving which helps so much in nasty situations… like when I fell through my floor last Sunday and knew immediately how to solve this: I could come out by myself luckily, but I also had my telephone with me and could have phoned a friend who has my key.
    I think it is important to cherish both sides and I think your list of advice is very good.
    Start to look at yourself as positive as possible. Try not to get too tired. That makes the worrying worse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You fell through your floor?? Sounds like you’re OK. That does sound nasty! Thanks for sharing your ideas: positive action, yes! And getting enough sleep. Sometimes it’s the simple things. Good to hear from you.


  3. Thank you for this wonderful post! Couldn’t have come at a better time! I worry about the politics of this country, the road sense, the children on the streets, the natural gas & crude oil problem.. To name just a few. The suggestions you have given will certainly be helpful, I use music, walks, favourite books, talking to another person, favourite tv serial, writing, just being aware of my tumble down the anxious, spiral hole as I call it, as calming techniques..
    My hot favourite song now is Demons by imagine.. Don’t know why, just is.. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Paula, I so love the way you write! I am a super worrior/warrior. I have daily battles. My worst fear is health issues. I always freeze when my kids have something or me. I have always worried about the planet/wildlife/poverty etc etc.
    my remedy is being surrounded by nature (have to leave the city for that) and listen to the soundtrack of the movie A river runs through it.
    Others don’t often get my worries. Think I dramatize and don’t take me seriously. i always know and feel danger/change before others, so they don’t see the problems that I see.


    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is what I needed to hear at this moment: “You’re complicated so there’s no one practitioner or one technique that will be the perfect answer.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I find that my daughter tends to worry most about things that are completely beyond her, or anyone’s, control.

    “Get hugged by someone you love, including your animals. Breathe and feel the connection deeply in your body.” This usually works for us. Thanks for sharing suggestions – we need them!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love the hug suggestion, Paula. They work wonders!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great ideas, Paula. I really like your point about how people with active minds have to manage their worrying more than others. It validates the experience and makes it seem more understandable, since so many anxious people also feel shame about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Really good article, Paula. I am glad you mentioned Guided Imagery. We all know our thoughts affect our physiology. That works for good and bad. I am often amazed at how deeply calmed many clients are when they go through this process. Many of those who have said things like….I never relax, come out of their session saying things like, I’ve never felt so relaxed. Our imagination and thoughts are so powerful and where we focus them are so important. Guided Imagery, meditation, mindfulness and hypnosis are all powerful ways to create that peaceful, calm within.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I talk, in writing, to the part of me that’s worried. It’s usually one of the same few child selves that always show up–Wrong Thing Me, Out-of-Control Me, and so on. I try to really listen to that self so that she feels heard, and then make a safe place for her to go, reminding her that she doesn’t have to deal with the situation–my adult self will do that. This has helped me a lot! But I do also need anxiety medication, and I’m very grateful that it works for me.


  11. Pingback: Still Gifted After All These Years | Your Rainforest Mind

  12. Pingback: Intense Kids, Intense Parents — Tips for Managing the Mayhem | Your Rainforest Mind

  13. Pingback: Creative People May Have More Anxiety | The Creative Mind

  14. Pingback: The World Needs More Overthinkers | Your Rainforest Mind

  15. Pingback: The Contradictions Of Giftedness | Your Rainforest Mind

  16. Pingback: Dealing with Anxiety When You Are a Highly Sensitive Overthinker* | Your Rainforest Mind

  17. I am so glad I found this page. I am so overly activated and sensitive, hyper sensitive, as I have told all of my life. I am also gifted and have amind, that doesn’t stop. Some days, its a heaven, like today. Others, a hell. I have agifted son, and he is also hyper sensitive and anxious. The what ifs. Do you work with people through skype, or who live far away?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m only licensed in Oregon to do counseling but I consult internationally. I’ll consult with parents about their gifted children and also with gifted adults. A consultation is educational. Looking at the traits of giftedness and how they impact your life versus counseling around family of origin issues, emotional processing, and trauma. If you have more questions, you can send a note via my About page. Thanks for your comment.


  18. Pingback: You Are Not Complaining. Being Gifted is a Gift. But It Can Also Be Terribly Lonely. | Your Rainforest Mind

  19. Pingback: Gifted In Finland — What Are Gifted Adults Like Across Cultures? | Your Rainforest Mind

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.