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.


“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.”


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?


37 Responses

  1. My name is SNGLGUY, and I’m a chronic worrier. There, I said it. πŸ˜€

    Is there a Worriers Anonymous that I can join?

  2. there is a bible verse that i used to read when i was a young mother then – ‘Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life’. i have hold on to this inspiration for years now especially in times that i need it.

  3. I too worry, but the more I worry, the more reasons pop-up to worry about. so I figured out that without worrying then my life would be abnormal. I’ll let you know if I’m out of this cycle..

  4. My motto is: if I can’t do anything about it, then I don’t worry about it.

  5. Sngl – haha can I join too ? Well, I guess we can worry if there is sufficient reason to worry πŸ™‚ I guess this post is all about finding out if your worry is legit or not πŸ™‚

  6. Bing – yes, I’ve heard of that verse. It really makes sense because worrying has no effect on the outcome of what you are worrying about !

  7. Vic – agree that not worrying is abnormal πŸ™‚ I think there are people who suffer unecessarily because they don’t want to act on getting rid of their worry. Case in point, people who worry that they have caught a disease but then fear to see the doctor ! It’s a lose – lose situation πŸ™‚

  8. Wil – makes sense. If you don’t have any control of the outcome, why kill yourself. What you can do is anticipate the worst outcome and prepare for it. It will alleviate your worry πŸ™‚

  9. Sometimes, I worry that I worry too much. πŸ˜‰

  10. That’s funny: yesterday I said to myself that I will spend this weekend as if I have not a care in the world; and I’ll just get back to whatever needs addressing on Monday.

    So for this entire weekend, I let go and let God :)naj

  11. Abaniko – for starters, that’s great because you are concerned about the level of stress your worries are causing to you πŸ™‚ Some people just like to dig their own graves so to speak by just letting worries overrun them 😦

  12. Eric – well, you have a hobby that keeps you preoccupied a lot that you have no time to worry πŸ™‚

  13. Good advice! I will now tell my wife and son that they aren’t allowed to go outside our home!
    I hope I will stop worrying about them ! πŸ˜‰

  14. Sidney – ha ha.. You can also go with them everytime they go out so you don’t have to worry πŸ™‚

  15. you are right there are some worry that are brought about by non-legit problem. if we can only classify or identify which are legit from not, maybe mababawasan ang worries natin sa buhay, kung pwede nga lang worry-free nalang kasi kahit legit naman meron pa rin solunyon dyan, yung iba matagalang process nga lang πŸ™‚

  16. I have this habit of delaying my worrying lol. I would tell myself that I’ll worry about this next week. Pero hindi pa dumating ang next week eh meron na akong solusyon or minsan na solve na yung concern. I stick with this habit coz it works for me and it saves me from worrying.

    Btw I always believe that it’s not called a problem is there is no solution πŸ™‚

  17. I meant “it’s not called a problem if there is no solution”..kung ano man ang tawag jan, di ko na alam lol

  18. I tend to worry a lot, admittedly. I worry about myself, my family, the future. It is so refreshing to read this post, and to be reminded that hey, “life is all about taking risks.” There are so many things that are beyond our control, things that happen even if we try our best to keep them from happening.

  19. i’m a worrier but for just a minute. especially when i’m late. i think that’s the only time i worry. hehehe

  20. I actually worry a lot that I am thankful in a huge way that you shared this topic with us. I don’t know, maybe in the coffee I drink. There were a number of times I ran to the hospital worrying about something’s wrong with my health and often ending up getting negative results for my tests.

    But this blog issue, might help me resolve this worry—or anxiety problem as the doctor often says to me.

  21. Good post! I think that’s a good book, bw.

    I, too am a worrier by nature. As I grow older, especially now, I tend to relax a bit and tell myself, ‘let go of some things that’s causing all the stress and the worries.’ When I do that I feel good a bit.

  22. Iskoo – absolutely. If we can only purge the non- legit imagine the burden that can be off loaded from our backs πŸ™‚ But the problem is isn’t a simple as it obviously looks. Some people had been so used to the worrying mind set that they seem incapable of discerning what’s legit from what is not 😦

  23. Verns – IMHO, if one indulges in worry about a problem that has no solution and not able to discern it, baka onset na ng extreme anxiety which will lead to depression. I believe that too much worrying if unabated will do more harm than good 😦

  24. Kathy – just as Senor Enrique mentioned, “let go and let God ” is a good way to look at things beyond our control. In most cases we do our best and if our expectations aren’t met, we can’t really do much about it and no amount of our worrying could ever influence the outcome.

  25. Tin – lucky you … you’re still young, living in mom and dad’s house, earning all the money for yourself – have no reason to worry really πŸ™‚ Enjoy the moment πŸ™‚

  26. Major Tom – what you did was good in that you moved to get a handle on the thing that worries you and the result laid your qualms to rest. The worst was for you to worry about your health but not having the guts to see the doc check you out !

    Consistent with the theme of this post, you did what you were supposed to do πŸ™‚ You took care of one burden that was breaking your back.

  27. Ipanema – That’s great if you can shut down your thoughts from things that worry you. Sometimes the rat race of a society can add more worries to our already stressful lives. In my case I just worry about those that really need worrying . I now prefer to isolate myself from problems of people and let them solve it themselves instead of acting like I am their saviour. I feel that I have to pace myself so to speak coz I have my own worries to take care of. Doesn’t sound charitable of me eh ? Bottom line is, I have to take care of myself too.

  28. right check first if the things that causes you to worry are valid then instead of worrying without taking any action i agree to to the ffg:

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

  29. Cruise – makes sense.. the worst thing for me to do is worry big time and not move my butt to do something about it. That’s tantamount to giving up 😦 Fear of confrontation is what makes people worry like crazy.

  30. I’m quite of a worry wart, that’s the reason I was tagged “uptight.”

  31. Jeff – sometimes uptightness it may have to do with the person’s nature. Some people are very serious in everything they do and cannot accept anything short of 100%. The perception of uptightness may come from this trait.

  32. At one point when my friends were getting married, I was worried I might be an old maid. Seeing how their lives have become sh**ty, I now say que sera sera.

  33. Irrealis – I’m sure your time to settle down will surprise you. Dont you worry – they say it comes when you least expect it πŸ™‚

  34. I’m guilty. I, too, am a worry wart. The last year and a half have been emotionally trying for me and I would often find myself furrowing my brow. When I realize what I’m doing, I’d immediately erase that expression for fear that I might get wrinkles on my forehead. I am now learning how to let go.

  35. I, like you, don’t dwell on worries that much. My theory: I’m either prematurely senile, I have a short attention span or I’m just too lazy to worry all the time. Whichever it is, I’m glad I have that quality cause medicine for hypertension is expensive!

    Worry = weary

  36. Niceheart – now that’s a good motivation not to worry – fearing wrinkles in your forehead πŸ™‚

  37. Alternati – you should come here – medicine is free:) Worry=weary – darn right πŸ™‚ That’s the very reason why I avoid worrying. It’s so tiring, like carry a huge sack on your back 😦

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