Monday, August 15, 2011

Are You A Worrier?

As a child, I thought it amusing to hear my father quote this scripture. "Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. (Job 14:1). He obviously believed it because he quoted it often. Throughout history, much has been written about the worry men experience, both real and imaginary, as they face a multitude of challenges in the journey of life. According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, worry is defined as "a troubled state of mind, anxiety, uneasiness, distress.”

I’m a world-class worrier. I learned it from my mother, who was an expert worrier. I just figured it came with the territory. When I don’t have anything to worry about, I worry because I’m not worried. “Things are going too well,” I say. “Something must be wrong!” But please don’t follow my lead. There is a better way.

Worrying is a choice, and you can choose not to do it. Once you catch yourself, you can say, “Okay, I’m getting off this merry-go-round. I’m not going to do this to myself.” Then, get completely absorbed with something that requires your complete mental attention: do a Sudoku puzzle, add some numbers to your cell phone, answer e-mail, or count the change in your piggy-bank. Just do something to get your mind off whatever is causing you to worry.

My research tells me that worry is bad for your health. It leads to high blood pressure, stomach ulcers, headaches, lowered immunity against viruses, and lots of other health issues. Chronic worrying affects your daily life so much that it interferes with your appetite, lifestyle habits, relationships, sleep, and job performance. Many people who worry excessively seek relief in harmful lifestyle habits such as overeating, cigarette smoking, or using alcohol and drugs.

But can you wrap everyone up in a neat little package? I don't think so. Personalities are complex. My mother, whom I’ve already stated was an expert worrier, lived to be 85. She ate anything she wanted, started smoking cigarettes at an early age and continued her whole life – even after a heart attack. When she developed Macular Degeneration, her Ophthalmologist told her she’d be blind if she didn’t stop smoking, but she continued.

My father, on the other hand, was a seemingly easy-going chap who gave the impression he never worried. He watched his diet, didn’t smoke and did everything the doctors told him, but was bothered by stomach ulcers for years, then had five heart attacks within a short period, and died at 63.

One has to wonder why some people get away with anything and others... well, just don’t live long lives no matter what they do. Doesn’t seem to matter, does it? Some say, “When it’s your time, it’s your time and there’s nothing you can do about it.” However, I’ve always believed that we can hasten the end – or slow it, according to the choices we make and the attitude we assume.

What do you think? Please share your comments on the subject.


"Calmness is a huge gift. And once you master it, you will be able to respond in a useful way to every difficult situation that decides to walk into your heart." ~Geri Larkin


Jon said...

Oh yes. Attitude is everything peg. YOu can make yourself sick or well according to the way you think. I'm in the medical field and have seen it go both ways. Jon

sam said...

No need to worry... won't change anything. good post peg. sam

Anonymous said...

Im a worrier to peg like you. i worry about my kids, my dog, my parents just everything. I don't know how to stop. my dr. says my migraine headaches are made worse by my stress. I'll probably die young like your dad.

Nancy said...

It's a shame about your dad dying so young. I know from your stories that you loved him very much. Good post, peg, as always. Nancy