When we worry, we engage in debilitating mental and physical processes. This is the last thing our minds and bodies need.
It’s time to win the war on worry.
We like to go to war when we consider something to be wrong or bad: the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war against crime. But here’s a groundbreaking idea for you, how about we wage a war on worry — and win. Unless of course, you really, really enjoy worrying.
What is worry?
The word itself originates from the Old English term “wyrgan” that meant “to strangle.” By the time Middle English came around, the word had evolved to “worien,” which meant “to grasp by the throat with the teeth and lacerate” or “to kill or injure by biting and shaking”; that is how wolves would attack sheep.
When early Modern English developed — around the 16th century — the term had again evolved. This time it meant: “to harass, as by rough treatment or attack” or to “assault verbally.” Another 100 years later, “worry” underwent another transformation of meaning: “to bother, distress, or persecute.” Today, it means “to cause to feel anxious or distressed” or “to feel troubled or uneasy.”
Thinking about the evolution of this one word in 2017 is quite extraordinary. What an amazing journey it has been — from it’s more violent origins to its current, widely accepted meaning. Nonetheless, people tend to agree feeling anxious and distressed is a little like feeling you’re being strangled.
Why Does It Matter?
More often than not, our worry makes it hard for us to breathe. It’s usually the result of our own internal dialogue, our “self-talk.” It’s that subtle, on-going, and subconscious flow of words and imagery that stems from our moods and behaviors.
Imagine the worry you would experience if you were telling yourself that tomorrow you might get fired from your job, fail a test, or confront a person about a difficult conflict. There are infinite scenarios where we worry about something that most likely won’t take place.
When we worry, we are in distress. That distress is not only psychological. It is biochemical. When we imagine or experience worrisome scenarios, our body chemistry and neurotransmitters change.
Pharmaceutical medications attempt to revert this chemical change back to normal, but not without side effects. The easiest and safest way to counter the worry chemicals is to imagine positive experiences, positive outcomes and pleasant scenarios (the more the better).
We need to consciously realize that it is well within our capacity to generate happy chemicals as well as worry chemicals.
In western culture, the word “worry” has come to be associated with “responsibility.” If we didn’t worry about something, we’re not responsible people. “Responsible people” are concerned about (enter worrisome topic here: _____)
People don’t worry about things they don’t care about. If you were unconcerned about your money, car, job or relationships, there would be nothing to worry about.
We are responsible, so we worry.
But what if being responsible really means being response-able?
Being response-able means being capable of dealing with any number of unexpected and unpleasant challenges. We are more adaptable, flexible, and resourceful. We don’t worry and we win the war.
Mental health counseling is one of the more effective ways of helping you worry less, while remaining highly responsible and proactive.
Why worry when you can be enjoying life?
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