Why is Worry A Waste of Time?
It is difficult to stop worrying. When you really look at what you are thinking, much of it is based on untamed thoughts based on fear. Most worries are about things that are never going to happen.
But yet we worry on. The healthiest people seem to have a built in mechanism that allows them to release these thoughts before they settle into their brain and create another wrinkle or make one ill, because in the end, that is all that worry will ever do for you.
I read an interesting article about worry that I want to share with my own commentary, I hope that it helps you. It was contributed by Dr. Walter Cavert.
Things We Worry About
– Things that never happen- 40%
What if my significant other is cheating on m? What if my children forget to look both ways before crossing the road and are arrested for jay walking and sent to prison and never receive that baseball scholarship? North Korea may develop a weapon to destroy us.
The list of what ifs and how comes is as endless as your imagination. You can spend an unlimited time worrying about these types of things, but you are wasting a significant portion of your time.
The thing is that these events that are worrying you so much may never and most likely will never happen. I understand that they may happen, but even if they do, will worrying about them stop them? Will it allow you to protect your loved ones and yourself from these events? The answer is no, even if they do happen, your worrying about them will not prevent them and you will just have to deal with them anyway.
How to defeat these worries, recognize these thoughts when they arise as things that may never happen. Understand that excessive worry does not lead to control, because we can never have complete control over life and the things that are going to happen, no matter what we do.
Life is never about what happens to you it is all about how you deal with these things. You can control what thoughts you allow to influence your moods and behaviors. As a famous philosopher once said, “Stuff Happens, deal with it.” That is the way it is, and you will be much healthier if you eliminate your worries about things that will never happen.
-Things over and done with that can’t be changed- 30%
How much time do we spend thinking about our past? Whether it is about choices we have made or choices we didn’t make, people often look back with a healthy sense of fantasy that if they had done something differently, or if they had made a different decision at a key point in their life, then now life would be so much better.
The danger with these types of thoughts are that they are so addictive and believable. It is comforting to visit thought about our past, they are safe and whether you admit it or not, you have the ultimate control of how the particular situation you are thinking about actually occurred.
You can only remember snapshots of events anyway, because to remember every detail would take the same real time it took when the event originally happened. That means your mind is just picking and choosing the parts it wants you to remember.
Almost always idealized. Almost always positive towards you and serving whatever purpose you want your memory to fill. Also, as human beings, our minds will see what we want them to see and remember.
This is emphasized by any five individuals who witness something, if you separate them and look at their memory of that event you will get five different versions. They will be similar but rarely exactly the same.
As time passes the more different these stories will become, and that is how our memories work. An event happens and we immediately let our imaginations run wild about it. The point is that worrying about the way things worked out in the past is a waste of time because you can NOT change the past.
It happened and what you remember about it may not be entirely accurate anyway. The past is gone and you can’t get it back, make a different decision, or change the way things worked out at all. Those events, good or bad are gone forever and won’t ever be returning.
It seems to me the only intelligent thing to do is to remember the past as much as is advantageous to us. For example, life is a great teacher and you learn new things with every day of life, you would be a fool not to take those lessons and not make the same mistakes again another time. Any worry, angst, heartbreak, denial, nostalgia thought about the past is a waste of time because once it’s gone, it can’t be changed, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. So accept it, learn from it, and move on, because life is continuing, with or without you.
-Needless worries about our health- 12%
This is a difficult one because I think that everyone should take an interest in being healthy both physically and mentally, but there is a difference between being healthy and worrying about our health needlessly.
To mean needless worrying relates to the previous two worries but specifically about our health. Worrying about every ache and pain is the beginning of some significant injury or illness.
You may in fact at some point contract an illness, but worrying about it is probably not going to stop it. You can take great care of yourself for your entire life and drop dead from a heart attack, because of a defective aorta.
You can eat right and exercise every day and still contract cancer. The point is not that bad things might happen to your health, but worrying continually about them is only going to shorten your quality of life and make you miserable.
It seems the logical thing to do, is to take care of yourself as best you can and live your life. I don’t think you should stop working out or eating right, but not spend a significant amount of time worrying about what might happen to your health in the future.
What will happen is going to happen. Being in shape will only help you deal with things physically and mentally.
– Petty miscellaneous worries- 10%
These are the things that we worry about that are totally inconsequential to life. For example, worrying about what someone is saying about you, or what they are making up about you, or if you are well liked by coworkers, or if your physical appearance is appealing to everyone you meet.
Any of these types of worries are a foolish waste of time. Some people are going to like you, some are not, some will think you are attractive and some will not, no matter what you do. You can spend hours worrying about how you look and what others you come in contact with think about you as a person, but do they really know you in any real way? Does their opinion really matter? What you think about yourself is what counts. You know what type of person you are. Are you honest? Do you talk about others? Do you spread rumors? Would you steal?
All of these questions and more are totally up to you to answer. And if you don’t like the honest answer you give yourself, you have the ability to make the choice to change that. It is never too late and nobody is set in stone. We are all a victim of our experience and we can choose to let those things dictate our character or not.
-Real legitimate worries-8%
Now there are some things that you should worry about, like if you have a place to live, and food to eat. If your basic needs are being met for you and your family. I still have an issue with the word worry, even in this capacity.
Because being concerned or responsible is not worrying. It is being concerned about the well-being of your family and loved ones, and being responsible for them getting what they need. Worrying has never fed a child or ended any trouble. As humans, worry is one of our defense mechanisms that helps us deal with the misfortunes that life will inevitably send our way.
Which leaves 92% of all worry we do as totally useless and unhealthy!
“And this too shall pass.”
Quotes About Worry!
Worry is a misuse of imagination. ~Dan Zadra
If I had my life to live over, I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I’d have fewer imaginary ones. ~Don Herold
Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. ~Mark Twain
Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. ~Author Unknown
Let us be of good cheer, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which will never happen. ~James Russel Lowell
If things go wrong, don’t go with them. ~Roger Babson
Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy. ~Leo Buscaglia
Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. ~Benjamin Franklin
If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep. ~Dale Carnegie
I’ve developed a new philosophy… I only dread one day at a time. ~Charlie Brown (Charles Schulz)
Troubles are a lot like people – they grow bigger if you nurse them. ~Author Unknown
If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today. ~E. Joseph Cossman
Nerves and butterflies are fine – they’re a physical sign that you’re mentally ready and eager. You have to get the butterflies to fly in formation, that’s the trick. ~Steve Bull
I keep the telephone of my mind open to peace, harmony, health, love and abundance. Then, whenever doubt, anxiety or fear try to call me, they keep getting a busy signal – and soon they’ll forget my number. ~Edith Armstrong
Nerves provide me with energy. They work for me. It’s when I don’t have them, when I feel at ease, that I get worried. ~Mike Nichols
I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief…. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. ~Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things”
People gather bundles of sticks to build bridges they never cross. ~Author Unknown
You can’t wring your hands and roll up your sleeves at the same time. ~Pat Schroeder
The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. ~Elbert Hubbard, The Note Book, 1927
Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere. ~Glenn Turner
People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them. ~George Bernard Shaw, “Family Affection,” Parents and Children, 1914
Panic is a sudden desertion of us, and a going over to the enemy of our imagination. ~Christian Nevell Bovee
Somehow our devils are never quite what we expect when we meet them face to face. ~Nelson DeMille
For peace of mind, resign as general manager of the universe. ~Author Unknown
We experience moments absolutely free from worry. These brief respites are called panic. ~Cullen Hightower
If you treat every situation as a life and death matter, you’ll die a lot of times. ~Dean Smith
It only seems as if you are doing something when you’re worrying. ~Lucy Maud Montgomery
That the birds of worry and care fly over you head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent. ~Chinese Proverb
We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it. ~John Newton
Worry ducks when purpose flies overhead. ~Terri Guillemets
It iz the little bits ov things that fret and worry us; we kan dodge an elefunt but we kan’t a fli. ~Josh Billings
Worry, doubt, fear and despair are the enemies which slowly bring us down to the ground and turn us to dust before we die. ~Attributed to Douglas MacArthur
Worry is an addiction that interferes with compassion. ~Deng Ming-Dao
You can never worry your way to enlightenment. ~Terri Guillemets
When you suffer an attack of nerves you’re being attacked by the nervous system. What chance has a man got against a system? ~Russell Hoban
[A]ny concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden. ~Corrie Ten Boom, Clippings from My Notebook
I am reminded of the advice of my neighbor. “Never worry about your heart till it stops beating.” ~E.B. White
There are two days in the week about which and upon which I never worry… Yesterday and Tomorrow. ~Robert Jones Burdette
A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work. ~John Lubbock
As a rule, what is out of sight disturbs men’s minds more seriously than what they see. ~Julius Caesar
If worrying were an Olympic sport, you’d get the gold for sure. ~Stephenie Geist
I refuse to be burdened by vague worries. If something wants to worry me, it will have to make itself clear. ~Robert Brault, www.robertbrault.com
Worry is rust upon the blade. ~Henry Ward Hughes
Anxiety is a deep conscious breath away from dissolving. ~Mike Dolan,www.hawaiianlife.com
Heavy thoughts bring on physical maladies; when the soul is oppressed so is the body. ~Martin Luther
I have learned to live each day as it comes, and not to borrow trouble by dreading tomorrow. It is the dark menace of the future that makes cowards of us. ~Dorothy Day
Worry is a complete cycle of inefficient thought revolving about a pivot of fear. ~Author Unknown
Loneliness, insomnia, and change: the fear of these is even worse than the reality. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Second Neurotic’s Notebook, 1966
It is not the cares of today, but the cares of tomorrow, that weigh a man down. ~George MacDonald
Oh the nerves, the nerves; the mysteries of this machine called man! Oh the little that unhinges it, poor creatures that we are! ~Charles Dickens
Some patients I see are actually draining into their bodies the diseased thoughts of their minds. ~Zacharty Bercovitz
Some of your hurts you have cured,
And the sharpest you still have survived,
But what torments of grief you endured
From the evil which never arrived.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson
I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. ~Mark Twain
I highly recommend worrying. It is much more effective than dieting. ~William Powell
My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened. ~Michel de Montaigne
If you see ten troubles coming down the road, you can be sure that nine will run into the ditch before they reach you. ~Calvin Coolidge
When one has too great a dread of what is impending, one feels some relief when the trouble has come. ~Joseph Joubert
Some men storm imaginary Alps all their lives, and die in the foothills cursing difficulties which do not exist. ~Edgar Watson Howe
How much pain they have cost us, the evils which have never happened. ~Thomas Jefferson
When I really worry about something, I don’t just fool around. I even have to go to the bathroom when I worry about something. Only, I don’t go. I’m too worried to go. I don’t want to interrupt my worrying to go. ~J.D. Salinger,Catcher in the Rye
Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained. ~Arthur Somers Roche
We have to fight them daily, like fleas, those many small worries about the morrow, for they sap our energies. ~Etty Hillesum
There are people who are always anticipating trouble, and in this way they manage to enjoy many sorrows that never really happen to them. ~Josh Billings
Only man clogs his happiness with care, destroying what is with thoughts of what may be. ~John Dryden
Love looks forward, hate looks back, anxiety has eyes all over its head. ~Mignon McLaughlin, The Neurotic’s Notebook, 1960
Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due. ~William Ralph Inge
There are more things, Lucilius, that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality. ~Seneca
We are more disturbed by a calamity which threatens us than by one which has befallen us. ~John Lancaster Spalding
We are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth’s creatures, the worrying animal. We worry away our lives. ~Lewis Thomas, The Medusa and the Snail, 1979
A hundredload of worry will not pay an ounce of debt. ~George Herbert
As a cure for worrying, work is better than whiskey. ~Thomas A. Edison
Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow. ~Swedish Proverb
Never bear more than one kind of trouble at a time. Some people bear three – all they have had, all they have now, and all they expect to have. ~Edward Everett Hale