I’m a worrier — have been all my life. I remember as a child, my father always telling me, “Reg, you’re going to worry yourself to death!” I will worry about anything — you name it, and I have some deep concern about it. Once, during a therapy session, my psychiatrist asked, “Reg, is there anything you don’t worry about?” I responded, “well, I don’t worry that tomorrow I’m going to wake up and discover I’m a female, but everything else is fair game.”
One bit of good news for me — I don’t believe I’ve passed my worry genes to my children. (I’ve of course worried about this, too.) On my oldest daughter’s Facebook page, she notes — “Don’t worry about anything. Phil 4: 6-7.” Maybe my daughters will grow up to be well-adjusted people in spite of dear old dad.
The sad truth is that 1 in 4 Americans suffers from an anxiety disorder sometime in his or her life. As the old Chinese saying goes, “the mind is man’s best friend or his worst enemy.” And to add insult to injury, worrying is completely useless. We all know this. I’m reminded of a quote — “Worry is a futile thing. It’s somewhat like a rocking chair, although it keeps you occupied, it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
The effects of worry can be debilitating. Excessive worry can cause a whole host of health problems, including fatigue, nausea, head and muscle aches, and insomnia. At it worst, it can lead to coronary artery disease and heart attacks. The Indian philosopher Krishnamurti put it beautifully, “if your eyes are blinded with your worries, you cannot see the beauty of the sunset.”
So, if we all agree that worry is useless and debilitating, how can we stop it? Recent studies agree that there has been much progress of late in treating anxiety and worry — even the most severe of cases. And some of the most effective treatments are simple things anyone can do.
Regular exercise is a great stress reducer. Any exercise will help. I heartily recommend yoga and walking/running. Meditation can also help train the mind and provide one with the tools to keep unchecked worry at bay. Prayer helps, too. If you are so inclined, offer up your worries in a prayer to God. (One of my favorite prayers is Matthew 11:28 — “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Sometimes it helps to remind me to let go and let God take control.)
Another way to combat worry is to connect. Try to stay connected with family, friends, classmates, and colleagues. Being alone is a real danger for the worrier. With no one around to help keep the mind occupied, it is free to roam into dangerous, negative territory.
If these steps do not help, you may need professional help. Excessive worry (the kind that can interfere regularly with your ability to live your life) maya be a symptom of a serious disorder, like OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder), PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), and could also lead to panic attacks. If this might be your case, please consider consulting your physician. All these ailments are treatable and there are many types of therapies available, including simple talk therapy up to a wide variety of medicine and other treatment. You and your physician/therapist could decide and work through the best course of treatment for you.
My friends, worry is useless and unnecessary. But it seems to be becoming a greater problem now more than ever. If you think you need help, you probably do. And you are never going to be able to focus on finding peace and happiness until you can get your mind under control. You simply won’t have the stamina to stay focused on the positive if you are trapped in the negative. Don’t stay beholden to worry. Please take care of yourself and get the help you need.
(For further reading, please see “Fighting Life’s ‘What Ifs'” by Edward H. Hallowell published November 1, 1997 in Psychology Today, and “How Worry Affects Your Body” published in WebMD.)
Copyright 2011. True Self Enterprises, Inc.
Source by Reg L Carver