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are people who seem to make a life out of worrying,
who can't look at anything going on in their lives
without finding cause to think that the worst of
everything is going to happen, and that it's going
to happen to them or to those they love--or
both. But these people who worry so much are
forgetting some very important life lessons, the
most important of which is that worrying doesn't
change a single thing, doesn't help a bit.
easy to be concerned when someone is about to do
something risky. If one of my step-daughters
suddenly took off for a third-world country that's
plagued by violence without any extra money or
security measures, it would be very easy for me to
worry about her safety and well-being. There
would be many things that could happen to her, and
it would be easy to focus on those negative
possibilities and worry about her. But my
worrying wouldn't do a thing to change her
situation, and it would make me rather
miserable. And if she called to say hi and I
could only talk about how worried I was, I wouldn't
be able to support or encourage her at all.
I suddenly lost my job and didn't have any money in
the bank, I most definitely could worry about my
finances--I might end up losing my home and many of
my possessions, and I could go into debt and ruin my
my worrying wouldn't help the situation at all, and
it could negatively impact my health through the
stress and strife that I would experience.
comes when we think of negative future
possibilities. It's that simple--we spend time
and energy thinking about negative things that could
happen, not that have happened. And therefore
the energy that were expending usually is wasted
because those negative things tend not to come about
after all. Mark Twain said that "I
am an old man and have known a great many troubles,
but most of them never happened,"
and most of us can relate to this statement.
Most of what we worry about never comes to pass, and
the time we spent worrying was time and energy
even if the worst does come to pass, the worrying
didn't do a thing to help make it less difficult,
less intense, less negative. We might have
spent our time preparing for the outcome rather than
worrying about it, but instead we devoted our energy
to purely self-centered concern.
is a reflection of a lack of faith that life will be
good to us, a lack of faith that God and life are in
control and will make our lives full and
vibrant. Worry reflects a lack of faith in
oneself and in other people to do things that need
to be done when they need to be done, and a lack of
trust that we'll be able to deal with difficulties
when they surface in our lives.
keeps us from helping other people, it causes us
many negative results through the stress and strife
that it brings, and it wastes a lot of the precious
energy that we have in our lives. The only way
to combat worry, it seems, is through
acceptance--acceptance of the current situations in
our lives--and attempting to take positive action to
counter the effects of possible negative factors in
our lives. Worry doesn't change anything
except our own stress levels, and it's important
that we leave it behind as soon as we can if we wish
to live our lives and our todays fully and
* * *
history of the word:
Worrying may shorten one's life, but not as
quickly as it once did. The ancestor of our
word, Old English wyrgan, meant "to
strangle." Its Middle English descendant,
worien, kept this sense and developed the new
sense "to grasp by the throat with the teeth
and lacerate" or "to kill or injure by
biting and shaking." This is the way
wolves or dogs might attack sheep, for example.
In the 16th century worry began to be used in
the sense "to harass, as by rough treatment or
attack," or "to assault verbally,"
and in the 17th century the word took on the sense
"to bother, distress, or persecute."
It was a small step from this sense to the main
modern senses "to cause to feel anxious or
distressed" and "to feel troubled or
uneasy," first recorded in the 19th century.
(from Houghton Mifflin/Yahoo)
A man ninety years old was asked to what he
attributed his longevity.
“I reckon,” he said, with a twinkle in his eye,
“it’s because most nights
I went to bed and slept when I
should have sat up and worried.”
not work that kills us; it is worry. Work is healthy
and you can
hardly put more upon a person than he or she can bear;
but worry is the rust upon the blade.
Mental problems feed
upon the attention you give them. The more you
worry about them, the stronger they become. If you
they lose their power and finally vanish.
more we worry--the more we have something to worry about.
people behind the words
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|Worry is like a rocking chair—it keeps you
but doesn’t get you anywhere.
Corrie Ten Boom
Worrying is carrying tomorrow's load with today's strength--
carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow
ahead of time. Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its
sorrow, it empties today of its strength.
Death was walking toward a city one morning
and a man asked, "What are
you going to do
there?" "I'm going to take one hundred
people," Death replied.
horrible!" the man said. "That's the way it
is," Death said. "Well, we'll
that," said the man as he hurried to warn everyone he
Death's plan. As evening fell, he met
Death again. "You told me you were
going to take
one hundred people," the man said. "Why did
thousand die?" "I kept my word,"
Death answered. "I took
only one hundred.
Worry took the rest."
Contemporary spiritual story
is a great difference between worry and concern. A worried
person sees a problem, and a concerned person
solves a problem.
is nothing that wastes the body like worry,
and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed
to worry about anything whatsoever.
you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of
worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the
lack of sleep.
believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn't need
any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe
will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to
a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose
a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it if
But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes
you remember the things you were worrying about
a year ago? How did they work out? Didn't you
a lot of fruitless energy on account of most of them?
Didn't most of them turn out all right after all?
Worry not about the possible troubles of
the future; for if
they come, you are but anticipating and adding to their
and if they do not come, your worry is useless; and in
case it is weak and in vain, and a distrust of God's
never yet successfully bridged any chasm.
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of the worst features about worrying is that it destroys our
ability to concentrate. When we worry, our minds jump here and
there and everywhere,
and we lose all
power of decision. However,
when we force ourselves to
face the worst and accept
we then eliminate all these vague imaginings
and put ourselves in a
position in which we are able to concentrate on our problem.
Willis H. Carrier
Remember that our fearful thoughts are exaggerated
make the problem worse. A good way to
manage your worry
is to challenge your negative
thinking with positive statements
thinking. When encountering thoughts that make
you fearful or anxious, challenge those thoughts by
questions that will maintain
objectivity and common sense.
When overwhelmed with worry, you may encounter a lot
scary thoughts coming at you all at once.
Instead of getting upset,
remember that these
thoughts are exaggerated and are not based
reality. From my interviews with various
professionals, I’ve learned
that usually it is the
fear behind the thoughts that gets us worked
Ignore the fear behind these thoughts and
your worry should decrease.
cannot be willed away by consciously refusing to acknowledge
them--they must be pulled up by the roots and examined in the light,
pushed deeper into the unconscious where they only do darker mischief
by disguising themselves in some bizarre manner.
Sydney J. Harris
Nothing is so
wretched or foolish as to anticipate misfortunes.
What madness is it to be expecting evil before it comes.
Worry is one of those
"hamster wheels" of our lives, offering us the
opportunity to live through terrible things that never happen. When
stop to catch our breath, we might ask ourselves, "Why pre-worry?"
live through something that hasn't happened and may never
we actually believe that worry practice will make us better prepared?
Remember, everything has a beginning and an ending. We
only need to
deal with situations in our lives as they are happening, not before.
disasters may tomorrow or next week be seen as one of life's gifts.
All we have to do is deal with what is in front of us.
Anne Wilson Schaef
Meditations for Living in Balance
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|You can think about your problems or you can
worry about them, and there is
a vast difference between
the two. Worry is thinking that has turned toxic.
It is jarring music that goes round and round and never
comes to either
climax or conclusion. Thinking works its
way through problems
and decisions; worry
leaves you in a state of tensely
When you worry, you go over the same ground endlessly
come out the
same place you started. Thinking makes
progress from one place
another; worry remains static. The problem of life is to change worry
into thinking and
anxiety into creative action.
Harold B. Walker
often are you worrying about the present moment? The
moment is usually all right. If you're worrying,
you're either agonizing
over the past which you should have forgotten long ago, or
apprehensive over the future which hasn't even come
yet. We tend to
skip over the present moment which is the
only moment God gives any of us to live.
Worry is like a
microscope. It makes every little misery look huge.
We can use a telescope, and see far away into life. We
much, but worry we shall hardly notice. We shall find
it so small.
an infirmity; there is no virtue in it. Worry is
nearsightedness; a fumbling way of looking at little things
and magnifying their value.
Anna Brown Lindsay
is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind.
it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.
Arthur S. Roche
Worry is the
interest which we pay on trouble before it comes,
and we attract trouble every time we worry about it.
Albert E. Cliffe
| I have also learned that patience and time have a way
resolving our troubles. When I am worried about
I try to see my troubles in their proper
perspective. I say
to myself: "Two months from
now I shall not be worrying
about this bad break, so why worry
about it now? Why not
assume now the same attitude that I
will have two months from now?"
William Lyon Phelps