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Constant Worry

One of the best posts I have ever had on this blog came in the comments section. The commenter said that worry was the misuse of imagination. That is one of the more profound statements I’ve heard, and it is definitely more insightful than anything I think I have ever said.

But I do worry too much. At times I don’t know how not to. One of the unique things about being human is that we can recognize our moods. When I am showing the symptoms of anxiety or depression, I can step outside of myself, take a look, and say “I am suffering from these symptoms. This is not normal. This isn’t me.”

Terrifying and liberating

What an incredible thing. Both terrifying and liberating. We can be self-aware enough to realize that we are acting out of character. The terrifying part is when we don’t know how to change it. When the constant worry is actually constant, and not just the intermittent stress of life.

The liberating side is that, provided we know of an anxiety treatment that actually works for us–I do not believe there is a one-size-fits-all approach–we can recognize our state of mind and emotions and take the steps to correct it.

But wow it can be difficult. Just because we can recognize that we should not be feeling a certain way does not mean that we do not feel that way. In the moment, when the anguish is immediate and acute, if you fumble around and can’t find the off switch, there is small comfort in declaring that you are simply in a mood.

I believe the best way to worry less is to find things to be happy about. There is nothing that works better for me than making progress in something. There is something so healthy for me about measurable progress and small victories. It usually means my strength training.

I go into the gym, throw the weights around, and I either made progress or I didn’t. (but I always do). Is there something in your life that you can measure, that you know you can always improve on? That is the thing I would urge you to try the next time you are overcome with stress and worries.

Life is hard and I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying so. But humans seem unique in their ability to make things harder than they need to be sometimes. Constant worrying, case in point.

I know I do.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • ami August 12, 2010, 8:36 pm

    This feels like a follow up to your insomnia post. Maybe finding a solution to your worrying will help with the insomnia.

    One way I have dealt with an overactive imagination (and a tendency to worry – and to blow worries out of proportion) is to take my worries to their absurd extremes in my mind – and figure out if I could manage them at that extreme. Writing them down also helps (b/c worrying about forgetting stuff is one of my big worries :-0)

    • Josh Hanagarne August 12, 2010, 8:40 pm

      Yeah…hopefully there won’t be too many followups to that post, because I’ll be too busy sleeping to write.