What Do You Worry Most About?

THIS POST ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON THIS BLOG IN OCTOBER 2014. DUE TO A SERVER FAILURE, IT WAS LOST. IT IS REPOSTED HERE.


Expand relationships by asking questions about managing emotions

Note: If you are new to this feature of the Support4Change Blog, here are some suggestions for exploring questions for yourself and also for your family and friends.

Worry gives a small thing a big shadow. —Swedish Proverb

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One of ten “symptoms of inner peace,” which include frequent acts of smiling and a tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experience, is: “an inability to worry (this is a very serious symptom!). — Source Unknown

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There are people who are always anticipating trouble, and in this way they manage to enjoy many sorrows that never really happen to them. — John Billings

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Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy. —Leo Buscaglia


A cartoon in the Los Angeles Times on Oct. 14, 2014, showed Uncle Sam shouting “Eeeek” and jumping back from a small rectangle labeled “Ebola” on a graft chart. Next in line, the bars were increasingly getting taller: Fireworks, Lightening, Bee Strings, Dog Attacks, Domestic Violence, Drowning, Drunk and Distracted Driving, Flu/Pneumonia, and Diabetes. Missing were even more things to worry about, like cancer and heart attacks.

Perhaps it is easier to concentrate on a relatively small danger than to attack much bigger and more intractable problems.

I am not claiming that Ebola is something that we can ignore and hope it will go away. But when it comes to the energy we expend on worrying, for me it is a matter of whether I should put my worry-energy into something that is improbable, even though it is possible.

If I lived down the street from someone who was diagnosed with Ebola and had been swimming with a bunch of kids, the worry dial would go right up to the top. It would be reasonable to be concerned. But if no one in my town has been diagnosed, worrying about my children’s safety is a poor use of the brain’s worry neurons.

I am, of course, as concerned about hazards to health and relationships as anyone else. However, I try to keep from being overwhelmed by not focusing on those things over which I have no practical control.

A new problem for the Internet

For example, the other day a program on NOVA — using a lot of technical terms I didn’t understand — showed the real possibility that hackers could damage industries and infrastructure on which we rely every day.

However, while this gives me something I could worry about, I have no skills to do anything about it other than closely monitor my passwords. If I thought much about it, I wouldn’t get out of bed.

In the meantime, I do my best to make my corner of the world a better place.

Explore How You Manage Worry by Asking Yourself These Questions:

  1. Do I tend to be a worrier? Why?
  1. About what do I worry most? Why?
  1. When has my worrying helped me?
  1. How has my worrying hindered me?
  1. How do I express worry?

What have you learned about yourself in exploring these questions?
What have you learned about your friends if they have explored these questions with you?

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