To worry or not to worry that can be the question. Some of us live a life of worrying. I’m one of those and I come by it with good genes. Both my parents worried, especially my late mother. She could easily have won the Worrywart of the Year Award – if such an award existed. Worrying is inherited –if your parents were worriers so are you.
I remember when I was 15 my mother tried to get me to stop worrying. She handed me Dale Carnegie’s book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living and told me to read it. Apparently it didn’t help me. Many, many years later I still worry on a daily basis and I could win the Worrywart of the Year Award.
But I don’t plan to try to stop worrying despite the implications to health. My worrying history is testimony to that, despite 40 per cent of stuff we worry about never happening (see 12 Techniques to StopWorrying by Cindy Holbrook http://www.pickthebrain.com/blog/stop-worrying/ Statistics came from studies. Ms Holbrook didn’t get them out of the air). Some of our worries do happen. A personal example is the incident with the new freezer delivery and removal of the old. I told a friend that I was worrying about problems with the latter. The freezer was a big old heavy upright and although the stairway was open from the basement to the side door, there was a steep turn there. My friend said it would all go okay.
It didn’t. The company (an independent, not a chain) whom I’d done business with before without any problems delivery or otherwise, balked at moving the freezer outside to the end of the driveway (that after I’d arranged with them in the store to do so, including paying a fee, and also to send a junk dealer to pick up the old freezer). The delivery duo were full of excuses – and one of them had helped remove my big old fridge upstairs three years before so should have known better. I went into full persuasion mode and pulled out all the stops from crying to yelling at the owner on the other end of the phone about the promise to remove the freezer. He finally sent a third fellow to get the freezer out. They did and it wasn’t too bad.
I didn’t thank them. But when the junk dealer showed up within half an hour and was collecting, I stepped out on my veranda and thanked him.
As for the premise that it is needless to worry about something because it probably won’t happen, I’ve had the rug pulled out from under me so many times here. I’m not talking about acts of God (read your insurance policies – these are not called “acts of nature”) – floods, tornados, hurricanes, etc. I refer to the unexpected – the bad unexpected. Two recent examples: when I arrived home from my holidays I found my air conditioner no longer sent out cold air; it has to be replaced and I can’t afford it. The other example I blogged about two weeks ago – the train stalling with power outage on my way home from my holidays. In retrospect I probably should have worried about train problems, especially when the train arrived an unprecedented 10 minutes early where I boarded it – that should have been my warning. As for the air-conditioner, I put it out there every day (to God, the universe, etc., take your pick with your beliefs), to have all go well with my house and the stuff in it. And I give daily thanks for what works as I am truly grateful here.
Count your blessing is one of those 12 techniques to stop worrying in Cindy Holbrook’s article. I don’t agree with all 12 – but this one I do – with an addition – I also put it out there what I am not grateful for in my life.
And that latter brings about some interesting points related to worrying. The percentage of what I’m grateful for/not grateful for runs at about 70% for grateful to 30% not grateful (my health problems, not enough money coming in, for starters). The latter percentage runs close to the percentage of worries that don’t happen but way above the 4% for our worries that never happen, but is dead on for what we worry about that has already happened (30%).
Should I stop worrying about this 30%? Not my health – worrying motivates me to do something to improve my health. Ditto for the money situation. Maybe I need to focus my worrying – perhaps one worry a day. I also like to get the problem solved as quickly as possible or it tends to hang around in my mind. Factor in being an only person with limited help resources and not always enough money to hire people to fix things, and I have more worrying obstacles.
There is a silver lining to all this worrying. Another study has linked high intelligence with worrying a lot (Worrying and Intelligence – Scientists Find Link by Lee Dye, April 18, 2012 http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/worrying-intelligence-scientists-find-link/story?id=16158908#.UE9i7a5wBJE).
So, does that make me an intelligent worrywart?
Sharon A. Crawford
Only Child Writes