Worry is big news. The most pressing worry is the current state of the economy. People are cutting back on things they normally do that costs money. My hometown newspaper and TV news channels are constantly bombarding us with dire information on the worst economic downturn in eighty years. Talking heads are all over the media.
People are mulling over financial questions. How are we going to pay for our health insurance? Will I lose my job? And if so, will I be able to find another one? How can I afford to send my kids to college? Will the banks lose my savings? Why am I making less money and the oil companies are making more money? What's going to happen with my mortgage?
These questions are not from the few but the many. Try reading the front page of the newspaper or watch the evening news and not find something to worry about. Worry seems to have become a way of life. Google the word "worry" and be prepared to look at 177 million articles. Here are just a few of the things people worry about:
- Tourists are worried about traveling to dangerous parts of the world.
- Families are worried about the safety of their loved ones serving in the military.
- A few Christians are worried about stem cell research and gay marriage.
- Some people worry the Switzerland particle accelerator will produce microscopic black holes that will destroy the earth.
- Nearly everyone is worried about politics.
- Parents in Chattanooga are worried about a Christian commune set up near the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga.
- Baby boomers are worried about getting older.
- Scientists are worried about global warming.
- Parents are worried about school violence.
The problem with worrying is that it generates highly destructive and unhealthy emotions. As you may know, modern psychology has taught us that our thoughts lead to specific emotions. What we think determines what we feel. Worry can make us go through such gut-wrenching emotions as anxiety, guilt and depression, to name a few.
We know that women worry more than men. There are several reasons for this. The culture encourages women to worry and tells them that worry is an indication that women are kind and caring. Science has recently discovered that another reason women worry more is that, more than men, they believe that past experiences accurately forecast the future.
Yet, we have been told that worry is bad for us and that we should not worry so much. The problem is to find an alternative. What does "not worry" look like? The human race uses many ways to cope with worry. Some people use worry beads. Inspirational books and magazines are designed to help people with their worries. Guatemalan children tell their worries to dolls and place them under their pillows. Advice such as, "Don't worry, be happy" is everywhere. Religious people pray. Distracting ourselves by finding something to "cheer us up" is also a common method for combating worry.
The best way to cope with worry is to replace it with concern. You may want to browse through the archives on this blog to see how destructive worry can be in your life and what you can do about it. Especially check out our previous article on Worry. If you are interested in what to do about worry and how to change it to a more healthy concern, you can check out The Worry Free Life book and The Worry Free Life website.
You may want to learn how to change from worry to concern. There is nothing to worry about; there is plenty to be concerned about.
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