Worry worry worry

Why worry? A change in my household circumstances has led to my undertaking many activities with which I am not familiar. Many people, particularly housewives, would regard these tasks as routine and usually unproblematic. But to the novice they may be quite demanding. And sometimes, worrying.

There seems to be little relationship between a level of worry and the significance of a task. Were I to be in a death cell with execution due in the morning, some degree of worrying would be natural. But I suspect that my worry would be limited because the outcome is certain. Uncertainty seems to be at the heart of worry. Whether this or that important letter arrives in the next post might worry me more.

Worry is irrational. It is obvious that faced by a task we should think constructively about what steps we should take and then put them into action. Worrying may lead to exaggerating a task or putting it off as long as possible. So the effect is negative – we have only made matters worse. Realising that it’s negative does not take it away. In fact we can add to the problem the worry about how much we worry.

What is the source of worry? I imagine that, like so many of our instincts, evolution has played its part. We are always faced by problems and worry came about because we needed to be triggered to prepare for possible solutions. But when we are faced by uncertainty this can be difficult. I remember, as a young man, the occasions when my boss would ask me to meet him the next day – without mentioning why. From that point, overnight and the next day, there would be a little worry nibbling away inside. What might I have done wrong? In fact I cannot remember any meeting which turned out to be unpleasant. All that worry wasted!

Now you, reader, may have worries from time to time. But you have perhaps learned how to reduce these to a minimal level. In which case tell us how you managed that. Were the changes practical ones or did you change your internal attitudes? If nothing else you may find that you’re not alone.

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About Quentin

Science Editor, Catholic Herald. Portrait © Jacqueline Alma
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10 Responses to Worry worry worry

  1. John Thomas says:

    “What is the source of worry? I imagine that, like so many of our instincts, evolution has played its part …” – but others would surely add that this is Satan’s very best strategy: Wear them down by keeping them in a permanent agitated state, and keeping their minds on bad things that may well never come about … waste their mental efforts …

  2. John Nolan says:

    Why do people under the age of 40 reply to any request with the phrase ‘no worries’?

    ‘A pint of London Pride, please.’ ‘No worries.’

    I suspect this might have originated in the Antipodes, but it has spread like wildfire and is starting to worry me.

  3. Iona says:

    My worry levels have dropped dramatically as I have shed responsibilities. Retirement; children growing up and becoming independent; I was caring for my mother in the last few years of her life, so her death relieved me of that responsibility too. This suggests to me that at least one source of worry is the fear that one will not cope, will not “measure up”, will not be able to meet others’ expectations.

    • St.Joseph says:

      Iona. I understand what you say.
      I would not say I worry but I do have a great concern for my children and my grandchildren who I know must be worried sick for the last three years when I was diagnosed with Pancreatic and Liver Cancer, 8 weeks to live, we went to Lourdes immediately, I expect you will know this as SS have been praying for me since then to which I am very grateful..Thank you all.
      Having 39 chemos and in and out of hospital more times than I can count 3 time since Christmas, losing 6 stents, never known before., jaundiced each time a stent fell out,
      I put my trust in The Lord and His Blessed Mother so I feel sometimes I am the fortunate one. I thank God my children are still practicing Catholics and very prayerful and take me to the hospital every time even my daughter a very busy business manager in a Secondary School with a wonderful headmistress.

  4. St.Joseph says:

    Jesus said to Martha ‘Mary has chosen the better life’

    What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul.

  5. Geordie says:

    John Thomas, I agree that Satan has a lot to do with worry. Worry stops good people doing good. The best thing is to soldier on and do your best through the pain of worry. It alleviates the pain.

  6. G.D. says:

    Two basic causes of worry …1. ‘it/they/I might not be as I WANT it/them/I to be in the future’. …2. ‘if only it/they/I had been different in the past’.
    The remedy ‘acceptance of how it is’ now.
    Easier said than done of course.

  7. Martha says:

    Testing

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