Why Worry?

Worry is like a rocking chair; you go back and forth without getting anywhere.
I have always been a worrier, what will people think, what will people say, how will a particular future event go, how can I sleep more in less time; the list goes on and on. If certification could be done for worriers, I would get a very high rank. But over the last few months, I have begun to see how detrimental this is for my health and my life.

Detrimental for my health because worry places my body in a fight or flight mode. This means that I become hypervigilant, my heartbeat is faster, my blood pressure is higher, and I am crippled with anxiety and fear I really cannot overcome. When you are constantly in a state of worry, your body adapts, and that is why some people suffer from stress-related diseases like high blood pressure.

Frankly, I hate feeling like this. Worrying is detrimental to my life because it keeps me in a state of overanalysis, meaning I am not taking any action. I am just stuck there thinking about solutions and finding more problems in those solutions. In the book the Power of Now by Ekhart Tolle, he talks about how the mind is good at creating problems but not solving them because once it solves them, there will be no more use for it.

There is one main problem with worrying. Unless it is done with the aim of brainstorming a problem, it is quite useless. This is because our minds typically jump from problem to problem, meaning that we never really arrive at any conclusion. We just impress upon our minds the fact that things could go wrong. In another article, I will highlight how the subconscious mind and the conscious mind work, but anything you worry about constantly can come true. This is what is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. This is based on the school of thought that your thoughts become things.

In my opinion, some aspects of our society contribute to the high rates of depression, stress-related diseases, and anxiety. First of all, we are constantly bombarded with bad news. Most media companies discovered that good news doesn’t sell as well as bad news. That is why a significant portion of news reports are about crime, corruption and environmental degradation, among other sad and worrying news. You cannot help but worry when the picture painted to you of your country and the world is chaos and disruption.

The other aspect is the constant pressure placed on people to fit into a particular mould. While there are general guidelines to what age one should reach certain milestones like graduating, marriage and getting kids, we do not take into account the fact that everyone is on a different journey. In other words, as a society, we are so used to comparisons and measuring ourselves against well-meaning but unjustified goals that we forget to just live. Success is different to everyone, so no one should tell you that you are too late or too early.

The best way to nub worrying in the butt is by first analysing what you worry about a lot. When you have done that, you can now use the tool below to decide what is worth worrying about and discarding the rest.

The circle of influence and concern.

The bigger circle comprises of your concerns. These are the things that are a problem that you can be concerned about but that you cannot change. Ideally, you should spend the shortest amount of time worrying about these things because you cannot do much about them. Some examples of things in this category include your past, the weather, people’s behaviours, crime in an area you dont reside in etc.

The circle of influence represents the types of worry that you can do something to change. For example, you cannot change the weather, but you can plant trees in an attempt to reduce the effects of planetary deforestation. In the long run, the trees may help in restoring our climate to a semblance of normalcy. However, if you were to worry about the weather, you would stress yourself for no reason because you cannot change it. Some problems fall into both groups, but the solution is the same: do what you can, leave the rest.

The point I am trying to drive at is that whenever you find yourself worrying, you should ask yourself if what you are thinking about is something that you can do something about (influence/ change) or if it is just a concern. Part of taking care of yourself is deciding that you will mainly give your headspace to the things you can do something about. Take action where you can and let go where you can’t. That is one of the best ways to overcome the worry that I know of.

If you are a worrier, what other ways have you used to get control over the behaviour? I would love to learn from you.

Till next time,


Edit: 26/2/2021 An additional part of that diagram that i have come to learn about is the circle of control. It shall be expounded on in a future post.

Leave a Reply

Scroll to Top