We live in troubled times. Since life is so uncertain, how do we work thorough the anxiety created by the economy, a relationship breakdown, or a sudden health concern? To answer this question, we need to address three questions. First, what is worry? Second, how does worry affect us? And third, how can one overcome worry?

What is worry? Worry is riding the waves of anxiety in a sea of faulty thinking. 95% of everything we worry about never comes to pass. Worry or anxiety is thus brooding over what we cannot control, whereas concern, on the other hand, is acting on what we can control.

How does anxiety affect us? Untreated anxiety is extremely harmful to our minds and bodies because it inhibits us from being productive, stifles our initiative, and drains off our courage. In reality, anxiety paralyzes us from being proactive.

So, what are we to do to combat this enemy called anxiety? Let me present a few suggestions:

  1. Learn to see the broad perspective of the situation and work through the existing problem in small manageable pieces.
  2. Utilize our faith. As a Christian, I can go to the scriptures that will provide me comfort, which then allows me to let go of what I cannot control.
  3. Strive for balance in our lives. Most people who suffer from anxiety are perfectionists.
  4. Be prepared. The more knowledge we have about a given situation, the less we will worry about it.
  5. Keep a daily journal of what trigger events occurred today, making sure to have at least two positive entries for every negative one.
  6. Remember it takes practice to change the bad habit of worry. Yes, it is a habit!

So, what take home conclusions can be made? Worry is a habit that can be changed, associate ourselves with positive people, and realize the majority of worry is a waste of energy.


Dr. Fowler is a Professor of Psychology at TMU.

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