Worry shapes our lives

Elijah Hudson, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

85 percent of things that we worry about will never happen. All that time distraught over something that didn’t affect you negatively. Worrying usually is our minds trying to anticipate bad things that have a possibility of occurring. Excessive worrying often leads to anxiety. The word worry comes from an Old English term that means “to strangle.” Worry often comes off as an innocent word, that doesn’t make you think of destruction. Worry does indeed strangle our lives, when we allow it to. It consumes our thoughts, and makes the outlook of tomorrow look bleak.

My great aunt once had leukemia in almost every vital part in her body. The doctors said she didn’t have much time to live. When we heard this, many of my family members started to prepare for her death. We began to mourn for her, her husband, and ourselves. As it turns out, my aunt was somehow able to overcome the immense odds and beat her cancer. It was really hard that we put ourselves in that situation, just to prepare ourselves for when bad news may come. This practice has a term that describes it, catastrophizing. Catastrophizing is a common exercise in worrying in which someone visualizes the worst scenario for even the smallest events. When asking someone what is the worst thing that could happen, it could actually make the instance worse for them because they start to think about all of the negative outcomes that could occur.

One of the biggest misconceptions our society has today is that if you don’t worry then you don’t care. This is simply not true. Worry makes people unnecessarily stress over unnecessary things. Instead, we should care for someone else’s needs, rather than worry for them. Sometimes when somebody wants you to worry for their situation, it is just them saying that they want you to be there as a friend, or a family member for them.

I believe that stress can be positive, in small amounts. Stress helps us be vigilant about our problems and encourages problem solving skills. If I didn’t worry that my grades might drop, or about my future, nothing would keep me focused on my performance in school. However, when stress exceeds our capacity, it becomes negative and leads to worrying.

Worrying is incredibly damaging to our bodies. Anywhere from 60 to 90 percent of all doctors’ visits are directly related to stress. This stress and worry literally breaks down our bodies. Staying up all night worried about a certain instance can throw off your sleep schedule and make you tired for when the event actually comes up. It can lead to headaches and panic attacks.

So how do we stop this destructive force called worry? Live in the present. Practicing mindfulness, or a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, is one of the best things that you can do to prevent worry, or stress. Another way to cope with anxiety is to write down all of your worries on a piece of paper. After the event, write down what was the result of the event, or situation. A couple of months into doing this, look over all of your worries and results of the situations. You may be surprised from all of the unnecessary worrying you might do. Another method to help yourself not stress about certain things is just to keep your mind busy. If your mind is focused on sports, playing an instrument, or any other activity that takes up your thoughts, it leaves less time for you to be worried about your life. It is completely natural to have worry, but it is up to every person as to how they deal with it.