Scott’s Thoughts: Why We Worry

Dove of peaceNothing robs us of today’s real joys like the worries over tomorrow’s disasters. In our attempts to predict the future, we short change ourselves of the moment we’re living. While there is a place for common sense preparation in our lives — i.e. preparing an earthquake kit, keeping an eye out for leaks, changing the batteries in our smoke detectors — pure panic about the days to come serves us not at all.

Or does it? What are we getting out of all this worry about our future? Why do we feel compelled to fret about catastrophe?

As perverse as it may sound, worrying is a form of control. It isn’t a terribly effective one, as events beyond our control remain beyond our control, but it helps us maintain the illusion that we’re engaged with or vigilant about what threatens us. If you’ve ever felt like your problems will strike just at the moment you let down your guard, you may be addicted to worrying as a form of control.

Instead of worrying, I would instead offer you this alternative: Subsume your fear and anxiety into action. Sometimes these actions may be small. It may mean joining a protest or writing local politicians. It may mean making small changes in your diet or exercise plan to help your health. It may take the form of meeting with a friend or counselor to voice your fears and put them in perspective.

Do what you can do, and put aside the crutch of worry. Trade it in for gratitude for what you have in your grasp, be it friends, family, or a simple cup of coffee and time to reflect.

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