Where Do Worries Come From?

 

Pharmaceutical companies would have you believe that worries come from a lack some chemical in the brain. They want to sell you that chemical or some other to boost production of what is missing (and more importantly, to boost their quarterly sales figures).

 

I don't believe this biological deficit theory.

 

My own experience proves to me that worries come from thoughts: 

  • what you tell yourself

  • what you allow others to say to you 

  • what you anticipate 

  • how you compare and judge 

  • what you choose to believe and trust about yourself.  

 

And being  just thoughts, they are much more susceptible to change than the bio-theorists want you to believe.

 

There's no profit in you being able to change your anxiety by changing what and how you think. At least, not for the pill pushers.

 

In psychospiritual terms, anxiety comes from two converging sources:

  1. not trusting that in your own ability to avoid or recover from danger

  2. spending too much time anticipating a negative future outcome

And these sources have nefarious little helpers, such as the media, parents, schools, OSHA, and others that make a buck off selling fear and safety as part of less obvious attempts at social control.

 

Sounds cynical?  Well, yes, that may be. But it's also objectively true.  My question is, when did we stop being risk-taking adventurists? Every one of us, if you look far enough back in history, comes from generations of people that conquered a continent.  When did we stop believing in our personal ability to create solutions, or seize opportunities to bounce back from hardships ?

 

Whenever it was that we lost our chutzpah, what can we do about it now?

 

 

Reality Check   

 

Get really clear that you're not being literally chased by an actual tiger. Take stock of the reality of your situation in the present moment. If there's not a tiger on you tail, or an anvil hanging by a thread over your head, you're good.

 

In other words, you may be talking yourself into worry and panic by what you tell yourself could  happen. Except, you leave out the part that it's a far fetched thought, and that even statistics show that what you fear rarely happens.

 

So do a reality check. Look at the moment objectively. See that in all likelihood what will most probably happen in the next hour is  .... absolutely nothing. And what will probably happen tomorrow is ....

again, nothing.

 

 

Empower Yourself with Knowledge 

 

Much of your worry likely comes from the unknown. You don't know what will happen tomorrow, so you worry about what could happen. Or, you don't know what the consequence might be if you make a certain decision, so you try to think of them all, and in so doing, scare yourself spitless.

 

The problem with trying to see the future is that most of the time you are seeing just half of it. You're seeing the what if, but not how you can handle it.

 

So make a list of the things that worry you -- that you can do something about. Maybe on your list are things like whether your older car will make it on a long cross country drive, or whether you'll have enough money to retire.

 

Then schedule yourself to problem solve by at least gathering information, and maybe even by taking action. Find out how much it will cost to get your car checked out. Plan your route and check AAA for known road problems. Do the math about retirement, open a certificate of deposit, or consult a financial planner. 

 

In other words, don't just sit and worry. You can prevent a lot of anxiety by simply determining what you need to know, and then being thoughtful about what you want to do about what you find out.  Knowledge is a better anti-anxiety treatment than Xanax.

 

 

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​I ​​do two basic things when I work with people:

I bring 40 years of experience and training​ to bear on the projects or situations at hand, and

I strive to problem solve with the best of my expertise in order to satisfy the client's needs.

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