Worry is Wasteful

Worry is a waste of time since it achieves nothing.

It is a waste of energy since it produces nothing.

It is a waste of possibility since it fills our minds with doubt and fear, leaving no room to dream.

It eats away at our strength and leaves us weak.

Worry takes what is good in life and hides it!

We all worry to some degree at some point in our lives. It is a human trait. We have imaginations and our minds wander, dwelling in the past where we consider our mistakes and experiences, or rambling forward to what might happen in the future. We deliberate over choices, imagining the consequences of taking path a or b, on repeat.

The dictionary definition of worry is to torment oneself with disturbing thoughts; to feel anxious or troubled about actual or potential problems.

We don’t learn anything from worry. It is not helpful in resolving problems as it only hinders rational thought and logic.

Recently, someone close to me said I seemed ‘to be worrying a lot.’ Considering what I think about worry, I was dismayed. At first, I laughed it off and defensively replied that I was getting old, as if this would excuse me.

I don’t even think old people worry more than the young. They just worry about different things.

But then I considered the statement. Was I worrying a lot? I do seem to be worrying about the future of the world and what condition it is going to be in for my, as yet unmade, grandchildren. I do worry about the effects of Covid-19 and the people of war-torn countries. I believe many people share these thoughts and that they are reasonable. The key is not to dwell on them. And I don’t believe I do.

I recognise these thoughts are not useful. They limit my ability to be present and enjoy the now. And so, I’ll move on.

The exercise taught me something. It revealed the difference between worry and concern.

What my friend perceived as worry was, on reflection, concern. I was concerned about her well-being. And that is a good thing. Concern shows that we care. It is a positive thought process since it leads to something that is actionable. If she was not okay, then perhaps I could do something to help.

It also revealed that I am prone to the same mistake. I react badly when I think someone is worried about me. It gives me a feeling of inadequacy, like they don’t think I can manage. It is disempowering. But I now see that I too may be perceiving concern and care as worry. I will now look at it differently.

We would all benefit from being more aware of our thoughts and asking ourselves if they are beneficial. If we recognise that they are not, we have the power to change them. If we ask ourselves, is there anything I can do about this? and the answer is no, go outside and smell the fresh air, listen to the birds, feel the breeze, contemplate the flowers. If the answer is yes, then do it.

And see where that takes you.

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Helpful Quotes by Others:

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

Worrying does not empty tomorrow of its troubles. It empties today of its strength.

Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey. Barbara Hoffman.

Worry does nothing but steal your joy and keep you very busy doing nothing. Healthyplace.com

Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose. Eckhart Tolle.

Most of the things we worry about, never happen.