The basis of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, is that what we think and how we think have a significant and formative impact upon what we do and how we feel. As corollaries, how and what we feel affects thought and behaviors, and how we act and what we do affects thoughts and feelings. CBT does not purport to treat certain types of problems, such as psychosis
, where brain chemistry is sufficiently changed to change the person, and it also does not directly deal with problems where there have been substantive damage to certain areas of the brain, either pre- or post-natally.
Within the range of relatively normal brain functioning, people can engage in repetitive, compulsive behaviors. I do not know of situations where serial murder is included in this, nor "compulsive" armed robbery, etc. Psychopathy (not psychopathology), or the nature of being a Psychopath, apparently, from the research of Dr. Robert Hare an others, involves somewhat different brain functioning than normal; for this small percentage of the population, emotion is apparently not processed by the brain as it is for the rest of the population. And there are disorders, as well, in which action does not appear to involve either volition or the effect of internal behavioral controls.
However, anxiety is not typically experienced by persons suffering from Psychopathy, and it is also not generally experienced during behaviors caused by, for example, Temporal Lobe Epilepsy. Anxiety is generally connected with hyper-arousal of the sympathetic nervous system that has been labeled by the individual as anxiety. There is some research, such as by Dr. Albert Bandura and colleagues, that shows that how we label experiences has a great deal to do with how we act during and upon them. This is part of the scientific basis of CBT, namely, that how we label, how we self-speak, about what we are doing has significant impact upon what we do and how we do it.
So, the take-home message is that thoughts CAN affect and even direct behaviors. If they could not, then CBT and therapies like it, such as Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT, developed by Dr. Marsha Linehan) would not work, and there is ample evidence in the experimental and clinical literatures that they often (not always) do.
What you describe appears to me to me to be a very different situation than thought-driven, or even impulse-driven, action. You appear, from your posts, to be constantly worrying about something, including worrying about worrying. What the previous and apparently other experts have suggested, i.e., staying relaxed and, even more, engaging in intentional and systematic relaxation practice, should impact these anxieties substantially.
There is also the possibility that your brain chemistry is such that just engaging in relaxation practice may not be enough. Therefore, again from the repeated questions you ask ... in effect, 'Could it be this, or that, or the other' ... no matter how often you are re-assured that everything will be okay, there is the possibility that your anxieties are driven by abnormal endocrine system functioning, or some other brain chemistry anomaly, that prevents the usual interventions from being sufficiently effective to provide you adequate relief.
To make sure this is not the situation, especially when CBT techniques do not seem to be enough, I always recommend to my patients that they have a thorough medical examination, including blood chemistry and urine panels, and, if something is not routine, to see a prescribing provider (I am not one) to explore pharmacologic intervention as well as CBT or other types of psychotherapeutic intervention.
Yep. I'm a psychologist, and I am also recommending that you have a full medical evaluation as well as that you see a prescribing provider who is not just a general practitioner, or PCP. From what you say, you sound functionally debilitated by these constant fears and worries, so much so that engaging in intentional cognitive and relaxation exercises simply may not be enough. As the old, Southern saying goes, "It's hard to remember that your object is to drain the swamp when you are up to your [lower middle rear body part] in alligators." Sometimes, getting some relief from the constant, nagging, debilitating worry can give you room and time to develop other skills such as the ones I and others have suggested.
I hope this lengthy response begins to answer some of your nagging questions. Can worry and fear lead to action? Yes, they can. Is it likely to be harmful or dangerous action? No, it is not. COULD it, though? Yes, it could, in extreme cases and extreme examples. It would be what we call an 'outlier', but it could happen. What can provide you relief? The tools we all have described as well as, perhaps in your case, some type of medication that can give you a little edge on getting more in control.
If this is enough of an answer, please credit me with some type of feedback using the buttons provided. If not, or even if so, you can continue the conversation with me (or with others) even after pushing the feedback button.
I wish you the best in overcoming this difficult and plaguing worry which appears to include even worrying that you are so worried.