It knows no limits and has no boundaries.
The poor worry about getting money, and the wealthy worry about keeping it.
Lewis Thomas, an American scientist and author, once wrote:
“We are, perhaps, uniquely among the earth’s creatures the worrying animal.
We worry away our lives, fearing the future, discontent with the present, unable to take in the idea of dying, unable to sit still.”
It doesn’t matter what age you are—worry could be your constant companion, if you let it.
You’ve probably been in fog before.
It’s a misty moisture that puts a chill in the air and takes the curl out of your hair.
Did you know, however, how much actual water is in fog?
If there were a dense fog covering seven city blocks to a depth of 100 feet, the actual water content would be less than a glass of water.
That’s right: when it’s condensed, all that fog, which slows traffic to a snail’s pace and keeps you from seeing the building across the block, can fit into a drinking glass.
The authors of Helping Worriers point out:
Worry is like that.
It clouds up reality.
It chills us to the bone.
It blocks the warmth and light of the sunshine.
If we could see through the fog of worry and into the future, we would see our problems in their true light.
WHAT IS WORRY?
How would you define worry?
What sets it apart from anxiety or fear?
When you experience anxiety, your body responds.
Usually your muscles tighten and your heart races.
Worry has been defined as the thinking part of anxiety, as a series of thoughts and images that are full of emotion—all negative.
These thoughts are rarely uncontrollable, but they focus on something that has an uncertain outcome.
The worrier is convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the outcome will be negative.
The word worry comes from an Anglo-Saxon root meaning “to strangle” or “to choke.”
Put your hands on your throat.
Worry is the uneasy, suffocating feeling we often experience in times of fear, trouble, or problems.
When we worry, we look pessimistically into the future and think of the worst possible outcomes to the situation of our life.
Intense worry is about as useful to our thinking as lighted matches in a dynamite factory.
A family raises golden retrievers.
They don’t let them have bones to chew because they’re not good for them.
But have you ever seen a dog with a bone?
They have a phrase for the way a dog becomes addicted to that bone: He “worries” it.
He just gnaws and gnaws on it day and night.
He won’t let go and may growl at you if you try to take it away from him.
He’s looking for meat but usually finds gristle, bone and marrow.
The dog buries his bone, then digs it up and gnaws on it again and even though it’s covered with dirt and leaves.
He’ll bury it and repeat the process again and again.
Worriers are the same: They bite and chew on their worry, bury it, dig it up, bury it and dig it up again.
WORRY: THE WAR WITHIN US
Worry is like a war that is raging inside us.
Dr. John Haggai, founder of the Haggai Institute, describes the conflict this way:
Worry divides the feelings; therefore the emotions lack stability.
Worry divides the understanding; therefore convictions are shallow and changeable.
Worry divides the faculty of perception; therefore observations are faulty and even false.
Worry divides the faculty of judging therefore attitudes and decisions are often unjust.
These decisions lead to damage and grief.
Worry divides the determinative faculty; therefore plans and purposes.
If not “scrapped” altogether, are not filled with persistence
Worry is thinking turned into poisoned thoughts.
Worry has been described as a small trickle of fear that meanders through the mind until it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.
With worry there is dread of something just over the horizon.
When you worry, you’re preoccupied with something about yourself.
And often you keep the worries to yourself.
This tendency keeps you on edge.
You’re not fully relaxed.
In fact, worriers don’t handle stress or upset as well as others.
They’re overly troubled by it.
Worry has been called the fuel system for stress.
When you worry, you add to your upset by coming up with several worst-case scenarios to your concern, but you’re unable to know for sure which one is going to happen.
Worriers have a calling in life: They want to examine what can go wrong.
They are like drivers on the freeway who come upon a grisly accident.
It’s horrible, but they have to look.
Because of fear and curiosity.
Often, people know they could see something that they don’t want to see, but they look anyway.
Dr. Gregory Jantz describes worry this way:
Worries are like weeds, they have a tendency to grow up overnight.
One of worry’s favorite, most-fertile soils is an over-busy life.
An overcommitted, no-time-to-breathe daily pace produces a toxicity that poisons peace, calm, and contentment.
On the other hand, worries thrive in this toxic environment.
When you’re so busy going from thing to thing, there’s no time to stop, to evaluate, to determine your next course.
There is no time for reflection.
There is no time to take a breath and decide what to do next.
When there’s no time for you to decide, you’ve lost control.
Worry is like a magnet that draws the worrier.
Perhaps we’re all interested in what can go wrong in our life.
We’re fascinated by the possibilities.
And when a possibility is discovered, we latch onto it with all of our what-ifs.
Worry is actually a kind of fear—a special kind.
To create it, we elongate fear with two things—anticipation and memory.
We then infuse it with our imagination and feed it with emotion.
And then we have our creation.
You’ve heard the word catastrophe?
That’s what worriers envision.
In their mind they create the worst of all possible outcomes.
One of the best descriptions of worry I’ve found is from Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of the Center for Counseling and Health Resources:
Worry is the ultimate recycler.
Any anxiety, fear, or concern is reused and recycled endlessly.
Worry says if it happened once, it will happen again.
Worry says just because it didn’t happen doesn’t mean it couldn’t have.
Worry says just because it didn’t happen doesn’t mean it won’t.
Worry says there’s no guarantee about tomorrow unless it’s a guarantee of disaster.
Worry wants to heap up all the actual and perceived disasters of yesterday and pile them on today, as well as any possible problem of tomorrow.
This is simply too heavy a load for today to bear; it will crush beneath the weight.