#Askingforafriend: The pitfalls of worry and the victory of concern

By Mike Wallace
GCU Office of Student Care
#Askingforafriend

“Worry is like a rocking chair. There is a lot of movement, but it goes nowhere.” -- Erma Bombeck

“Worry often gives small things a big shadow.” -- Swedish proverb

“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry, frustration and resentment.” -- Dale Carnegie

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow it only saps today of its joy.” -- Leo Buscaglia

I could go on and on with these adages, but I think you get my point.

What I think a lot of people do not get is that worry is a mental behavior, not a feeling, nor a negative cognition (thought) you cannot always control. This in turn creates a lot of unnecessary anxiety.  

Worry is a reaction to stress, according to Australian psychiatrist Archibald Hart. He goes on to describe how it can rob us of our feel-good brain chemicals, which in turn can create other physical and mental problems such as migraines, sleep disturbance and even depression.

In other words, our stress hormones and inhibiting neurotransmitters go into overdrive unnecessarily as we worry, thus creating other problems.

Choosing to make our stresses concerns and not worries is one antidote to this issue. The difference between concerns and worries is that the former is an active response to a stressor whereas the latter is a reactive passive state that feels active, and that is why it’s healthier.  

In a sense, worry gives us a false sense of control, but we pay a high price in doing so.

Harold Stephens said, “A worried person sees a problem, and a concerned person solves a problem.”

In light of all the turmoil that is going on, it would behoove us to be concerned (pray, ask a friend what they need, reach out to those hurting, write an exposé, self-care, get off social media) rather than worry (what if … OMG ... I cannot believe that). The latter are cognitions (thoughts) that create unhealthy anxiety.

Hart goes on to state that we can change our worries into concerns if we reframe them. Changing one’s internal dialogue from the “what ifs” to “so what if …” or the “woe is me” to “what can I do about it?” That creates more empowerment and true control.

I tell my clients all the time to choose to focus on your corner of true influence of the problem, choose to incorporate self-care in spite of the problem, choose to let go of the problem that is outside of your control, choose to pray and choose to relax.

I think the famous German scholar below says it best:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.” – Reinhold Niebuhr

****

Reference:

Hart, A. (1999), “The Anxiety Cure.” W Publishing Group, United States of America

Calendar

Calendar of Events

M Mon

T Tue

W Wed

T Thu

F Fri

S Sat

S Sun

4 events,

3 events,

2 events,

3 events,

1 event,

3 events,

6 events,

Integrity Week

Integrity Week

4 events,

3 events,

7 events,

6 events,

5 events,

3 events,

5 events,

5 events,

4 events,

6 events,

5 events,

2 events,

4 events,

4 events,

6 events,

5 events,

5 events,

7 events,

3 events,

8 events,

5 events,

5 events,

3 events,

5 events,

9 events,

3 events,

Chapel

Chapel

GCU Magazine

Bible Verse

As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26)

To Read More: www.verseoftheday.com/