Worry Wart

This is my third post on a topic from the book Rules of Life . I promise I will blog only 4 out of the 100 rules from the book, else I run the risk of spilling out its contents to the world, let alone being accused as a boring, plagiarizing and moralizing SOB. In light of the dynamic nature of our relationship with our fellowmen and the unpredictability of the material world we live in, the fear of uncertainty always threatens our very existence and tempts us to associate gloom and doom to the the phrase – what if? In other words, we worry. We become worry warts.

Note : This post is not meant for people who believe that their destiny is sealed or guaranteed by way of their religious faith. Such a position is unarguable. Rather, this is a brief and lively discussion of Rule # 43 – It’s OK to Worry or Know How Not To.

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“The future is uncertain, scary, hidden. We wouldn’t be human if we didn’t worry about things at times. We worry about our health, our parents/kids/friends/relationships, our work and our spending. We worry that we are getting older, fatter, poorer, more tired, less attractive, less fit, less menatlly alert, less everything really. We worry about things that matter and things that don’t. Sometimes we worry about not worrying.

Look, it is really OK to worry. Just as long as there is something to worry about. If there isn’t, then all you are doing is putting wrinkles in your brow – and that makes you older you know.

The first step is to decide whether there is something you can do about whatever it is you are worrying about, or not. There are usually logical steps to take to eliminate worry. I worry that people aren’t taking those steps, which means they are choosing to hang on to their worries rather than be free of them.

If you are worried then :

– get practical advice
– get up-to-date information
– do something, anything as long as it is constructive

If you are worrying about your health, go see a doctor. If you are worrying about money, set a budget and spend wisely. I you are worried about your weight, go to the gym – eat less, do more. If you are worrying about a lost kitten, phone the vet/police/local animal rescue. If you are worrying about getting older, there is simply no point – it is happening whether you worry or not.

If there is nothing you can do about your worry ( or if you are a persistent worrier, even bordering on the neurotic ), then distraction is the only answer.Get abosrbed in something else.A man with a rather impressive name of Mikhai; Csikszentmihalyi identified something called “flow”, where you are so absorbed in a task you are doing, so fully immersed, that you become almost unaware of external evernts. It is a pleasurable experience and completely banishes worry. He also said : ” The quality of our lives improves immensely when there is at least one other person who is willing to listen to our troubles”.

Worrying may be a symptom that you don’t really want to do something about the problem. It might be easier to just carry on worrying – or looking concerned and appearing to worry – rather than doing something about it. It is OK to worry properly, profitably and usefully. It is not OK to worry pointlessly and needlessly. Or at least, it is OK but it’s a collosal waste of life.”

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Here’s my take on this. If I seriously worry about something , I need to sit in front of the mirror and ask myself the question : “So now BW, what is the solution your problem ? ” If I can think of a solution, my problem is legit and I have the right to worry. However, if my problem has no perceptible solution, it means : a. I don’t really have a problem b. I need to dress up and see a psychiatrist ASAP to check why I am worrying about a problem that has no solution.

I have seen people needlessly worry about their spouses cheating on them, their teenage daughters getting pregnant, their kids getting harmed or mugged at school… and so on and so forth. But does worrying fix the concern? If we can’t take some measure of risk, then we should keep our spouse, daughter and school going kid at home all day ! If after all our years of worry and all went well, think about the collosal waste of time and excruciatingly tense moments we punished ourself with – for nothing. Ouch. Life should have been better. There’s a saying that goes : ” You may be deceived if you trust too much but you will live in torment if you don’t trust enough”. Life is all about taking risks. Are you willing to take risks or none at all?