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It’s an inherently human aspect – this thing we call worry. It affects each of us in different ways, some more than others. While I wouldn’t classify myself as a chronic worrier, I do tend to worry at times, especially when the issue seems to have far-reaching consequences. While I know deep inside that worrying is not going to do anything except make me more depressed, there are times when irrational worries tend to drive rational thought to the far corners of my mind. Going below the surface of worry and analyzing why we feel this emotion in the first place, I find myself with the following reasons:

  • Imagining the worst means you’re somehow prepared for it when it does happen: Yes, I do know that the experts are all for the power of positive thinking, but there comes a time when your mind conjures up worst case scenarios and how you’re going to tackle each of them in the event that they do happen. In a way, this kind of worrying is not too bad as long as you don’t obsess too much over what may happen, because you’re actually doing something positive in the process – planning and preparing yourself for the worst that could happen. So even if it does happen, you may find that you’re able to hold your own.
  • If the worst does not happen as you feared, then it’s reason to rejoice: One part of my mind actually believes that if I think of every possible negative outcome, none of them will ever happen. And this is why my worst case scenarios often have more sentiment and drama than real life. If you imagine it will happen and it does not happen, in my book, that’s reason enough to be grateful and heave a huge sigh of relief.
  • You fret over or regret things that are past: My sister is famous for this – saying “I told you so” when any of her dire predictions come to fruit. And then my mom and she worry about it some more instead of thinking about how best to tackle the current situation.
  • Sometimes you can’t help yourself: And that’s because we’re only human. To be completely free of worry would require the patience and acceptance of a saint. I do let myself worry for a while over things that I do not have control over – like the fact that a loved one is dying of cancer, that he’s in great pain and that there’s not a single thing I can do to help him. You tend to worry and cry over the sheer helplessness of the situation and the nature of this morbid disease that has no cure.

Even though each of us knows that worry is a debilitating emotion that drains our resources, there are times when we are beset by worry, in spite of our best intentions to remain stoic in the face of disaster. But the difference between positive people and those who let themselves slip into a kind of depression because they worry too much lies in knowing where to draw the line, and not letting yourself cross it.

This post was contributed by Kelly Kilpatrick, who writes on the subject of the top ten pharmacy schools. She is a part time health educator and regular contributor for nursing and education sites. She invites your feedback at kellykilpatrick24 at gmail dot com.


"Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it." -- Mark Twain