Worry. Stress. Anxiety. These are words that people are acquainted all too well with. When we worry, become stressed, or allow anxiety to build up within us, we are allowing negative emotions such as fear to control our thoughts and eventually our behaviors. Worry comes from our fear of not knowing and the fact that we might not be able to control the outcome of certain things. We then play scenarios in our minds, like the “What if” game, to try and gain some feeling of control or knowledge of what the outcome will be. Unfortunately, worrying too much can cause physical and psychological health issues making it imperative that we learn some alternatives to worrying.
When we worry, it can begin to consume us to the point that our daily habits begin to change. Some people will not eat while others will overeat for comfort. Relationships are affected. We can lash out because we are frustrated about a situation that we are uncertain about. We can also retreat into ourselves, neglecting the relationships of friends and family. Sleeping can become difficult because we have too much on our minds. With lack of sleep or a preoccupation with our thoughts, our job performance can decline because we are not really present. As we try to cope, negative habits can begin to build, such as cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, and abusing drugs. Eventually, if not controlled or handled in a positive way, worrying can turn into anxiety and cause serious problems to our health. Some side effects of worrying are dizziness, fatigue, headaches, inability to concentrate, irritability, muscle aches and tension, nausea, trembling. These can then lead to a poor immune system, digestive disorders, short-term memory loss, premature coronary artery disease, and heart attacks. Psychologically, worrying can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety disorders.
It is important to understand what worrying is and how it can affect us from the small things and build into larger things. It is also equally important to understand how to handle or avoid worrying. Some practical things to do would be exercising on a regular basis, eating a well-balanced diet, avoiding caffeine and other stimulants, and learning to relax and meditate. If we find ourselves worrying, it is important to talk to a doctor or see a professional such as a psychologist to help us talk through our worrying and find a solution to it.
Worrying is a fear of the unknown. Although we may think the fear is realistic, it is not because it is based on what we think not what will really happen. It can destroy our health and create more problems for us in the long run. A great prayer to remember when you feel yourself start to worry is, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.” If we can remember that, we may start to worry less and enjoy life more!