Worry The Web of Defeat
Author: Byron Pulsifer, © 2016
Much has been written about the vast amount of issues facing each person. Those who have written concerning the potential impact of these issues on our lives seem to be more intent on amplifying our worries than suggesting ways to eliminate them.
We often hear people suggest that life wasn’t as difficult in days gone by often paraphrasing that famous line that suggests that the good old days is when we should have been born. Part of this longing for the good old days rests in the notion that what we experience today in terms of concerns, problems either did not exist or were far less significant in years gone by. Did people worry more about every aspect of life more than we have to, or is worry a natural human condition much like possessing a common thread in our DNA? But, is this notion of a calmer, simpler and more worry free days of old really true? Let’s look at a few examples to see if we can determine the answer.
If we go back in history, we will find the good old days that were fraught with armed conflicts, unsafe travel conditions over treacherous roads, or trails, or pathways with many obstacles including the necessity to travers waterway systems. The amount of time it took to even reach another village or town was tedious and long. If you lived during these times, would you be able to say that these times were the best, or would you long to go back even further in history? Would you worry more about your security in years past, or would you worry less?
During the seventeen hundreds or eighteen hundreds, if we were to use this timeframe, would you likely be able to live through one of the many plagues that were prevalent? Would you survive Scarlet Fever, or pneumonia, or an injury to your internal organs? Bear in mind, however, that surgical procedures were often non sterile, and even rather brutal. There were no modern day antibiotics or modern surgical procedures. And, were you even likely to be living near a doctor at all, or would you simply have to rely on whatever medicinal folk lore was known? Again, the question is whether health care concerns would be less of a worry, or more of a worry?
Does Worrying Help?
I realize that the discussion and questions above about the good old days may seem a bit ridiculous especially since very few of you, I’m sure, would not opt to go back in time to live through the experiences of our forbearers. However, one element of the good old days, even if we choose to isolate only a few of the documented elements of the good days, that permeates one’s life no matter what century you lived in, or who you were, or what you possessed was the presence of worry. Similarly, there are many good times today that could be held up to show how much more enjoyable our life is due to the many, many advances in medicine, hospitals, food, clothing, tools and so forth.
So, at this point, let me ask you a question that would pertain to those living many years ago as well as those living today? Does worry help you overcome any issue, any problem, or any concern?
I’ve heard, probably just like you, from many people that they have a lot of difficulty getting a good nights’ sleep. When you ask them why they are having difficulty sleeping, they may tell you that it is because they are worrying about some personal or professional issue. Some people, to overcome sleepless nights, resort to taking some kind of sleep medicine that helps them sleep. But, while these kinds of sleep aids may allow them to obtain several solid hours of sleep, the issue which caused them to have difficulty sleeping in the first place remains a conscious force the next day. Dale Carnegie once said, and I quote, “If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.”
The plain fact of the matter is this: worry never resolves anything; the only benefit, sarcastically speaking, is that it contributes to health problems.
To Take Action
Now, I don’t want you to think that all of the issues and concerns you may have can be resolved by taking action. On the other hand, you must realize that worrying does not solve, or lead to any kind of resolution. The act of worry brings with it a tremendous amount of stress that builds and builds and builds eventually affecting a host of physical and mental troubles.
For example, if you are a constant worrier that constantly frets about not having enough money to live on in your old age, you probably won’t have to worry about it for long. Why? Because you may, in reality, be negatively impacting your own longevity. Worry constantly eats at your strength and your ability to view life with any sense of zest or comfort. Worry starts to affect your sleep which eventually can adversely affect your overall health which, in turn, can lead you to be more susceptible to contracting a virus or something even worse. Your body needs sleep; your body must have sleep time to recover, to be less agitated.
Worry about money can also lead to living in squalid conditions. Here’s how I know that. A few years ago, a woman in her sixties fretted and stewed constantly about money. She never bought a fresh loaf of bread, never threw anything out even if it was weeks or months old left uncovered in her fridge. If she was invited out to dinner, and if she had to pay for it herself, she would order the cheapest meal possible, or simply decline to order saying she wasn’t hungry. She would rather be hungry than pay for even a bowl of soup.
The sad thing is this: she could afford more than a bowl of soup; in fact, she could easily afford to pay for her companions’ meal. Or, if she ordered a meal, she would eat a few spoonful’s of it, and then ask the waiter/waitress to put the rest in a take home styrofoam container so she could portion it out for meals lasting several days.
And, even sadder was that because of her constant worry about money, her health deteriorated more and more with every passing month. In her case, however, she eventually went to live in an independent living environment that she was comfortably able to afford. Did she stop worrying about money? No. Why? Worry about money became an obsession; a behavior repeated so often that it seemed to become part of her norm.
Here is another example of needless worry. I’m positive you probably know of a situation just like the one I’m about to tell you about.
It is a story about a man who was worried that he would lose his job. He worked at a plant as a storekeeper. He had been working in the same capacity for many years. And, while he had been satisfied with his job the first two years, he had grown to hate it. He didn’t like the job, his boss, or the owner. His days were filled with unchallenging and repetitive work. As he mechanically worked through the routine of the day, his eyes constantly darted towards the clock hoping that by some small miracle it would soon be time to leave and go home. But, each day dragged on and on, the next becoming worse than the last.
Recently, he heard a rumor that a new computer system would soon see his position being declared redundant and unnecessary. He wasn’t sure when he would be released from employment but he was convinced that it wouldn’t be too far into the future. Every night, the same thing happened. Despite his best efforts to drown out the rumors with continuous television shows before he turned in, sleep didn’t come. He lay in his bed worrying, fretting, getting angry, then despondent. No matter what he tried to think about, his thoughts soon returned to the prospect of losing his job.
It’s obvious that worrying brings nothing positive in return. I’m convinced, that at this point, you’ve probably been thinking that in the situation previously described could be easily resolved. Truth is, you’re absolutely correct. This man’s problem could be resolved if he took only one of several options. He could approach is boss and see if there was another position within the plant that he could be trained for that could demonstrate his worth to the company. Or, he could take action by attempting to find another position outside of his current employer by checking the want ads, or the Internet ad offerings. Or, seeing that he detested his current job, he could enroll in a part-time course over the Internet, or through night classes that would train him in a new and interesting career.
The Common Thread
There is a common thread throughout each of the above examples. And, that commonality is that every person has the choice to worry or not to worry. To those that worry please understand that your thoughts of potential doom and gloom reside more within the confines of your mind than they do in reality. That having been said, it doesn’t follow that there will be or will come some issues in life that will cause you to have concern. Take note, however, that concern is not the same as worry. Concern expresses a feeling based on one’s life experience, whereas worry encompasses the lack of actuality.
In addition, to worry is to fail to acknowledge what one can or cannot do to alleviate or eliminate that issue towards which worry is directed. In other words, worry committed with resulting action is as useless as feathers on an elephant – there is no connection between what is real and what is not.
Take action and worry not lest you be caught in the web of defeat.
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
“If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.” Dale Carnegie
“Understand how your beliefs impact your emotional health and behaviors.” Cindy Hyde
“Did you know that to worry about a situation you are making a conscious choice to do so?” Mike C. Adams
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