Are you a worrier?
The head injury I experienced in my crash turned me into a worrier. Being a worrier can be a good thing. Worry helps us prepare, but worrying about something nothing can be done about can turn to anxiety. Anxiety can kill us.
Worrying puts you in a frame of mind to rehearse and evaluate possible solutions. Anxiety produces unproductive stress that builds on itself, Like a snowball. The main difference between worry and anxiety is that worrying is a natural, healthy emotional response to troubling thoughts and situations. Anxiety is not healthy. It can lead to compulsive and other types of negative, unproductive behavior.
The worry Attitude has a bad reputation. Why? Because it’s function is not fully understood. Worry can have positive effects, if it moves you toward finding a clear course of action to resolve the cause of the worry. Productive worry helps us survive by either avoiding danger or preparing for it.
Too Much of a Good Thing
However, worry can also give us ulcers if we worry about things that have no chance of occurring or that we have no power to change. Many individuals see a catastrophe in their worries—that is, they see the worst-case scenario, creating anxiety. In some extreme cases, some people even become addicted to anxiety. .
Anxiety focuses attention solely on the issue at hand and moves the mind to obsessing. This leads to an endless cycle of inflexibility and unrealistic perceptions, and limits an individual’s ability to develop creative solutions.
This type of worry is why the worry Attitude has such a bad reputation. Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic medication producers, as well as cigarette and alcohol companies probably owe a large part of their profit margin to people’s tendency to worry about the future. A catastrophic worrier is often someone whose imagination has run amok, anticipating the worst...
Toward the beginning of my rehab journey, I worried about everything from what people thought of me to if I’d ever be able to limp around without using a cane. Learning to understand the components of productive worrying and unproductive worrying was my first step toward a more relaxed life. Because a peaceful Attitude is almost always preferable to a worried Attitude, a world-wide and well known group of people recognize the Serenity Prayer as a guide of their thoughts and actions.
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
This prayer tells me that an Attitude of acceptance is key. Why? Because I’m luckily not in control. And because some of the things I think need changing take work to change, and other things I think need changing won’t be changing.