Monday, July 30, 2007

Hard-wired for Worry

I kept myself awake for half the night last night, worrying. Worrying about things that I have absolutely no justification to worry about. Old issues that I (thought I had) settled long ago. I meditate. I do yoga - I teach yoga! For a long time, I have wanted to be the personification of serenity, of peace, of calm. And in an emergency situation, I am. Somehow when the world around me is spinning out of control, I can find the eye of the storm and ride it out. When all is quiet on the western front, my worry genes kick in. And this leaves me wondering if it's possible that some of us are programmed for worry the same way we get much of our personality from our DNA. Am I destined to a life of constant concern?

This would not surprise me. My grandmother was the kindest, most loving, compassionate person I have ever known. And she worried more than anyone else on thye planet, about everyone, all the time. She took worrying to an art form. She made it a sport. My mom on the other hand, never worriesAbout anything. Ever. This astonishes me. Situations that send me right over the edge my mother barely notices.

In my constant quest to be a person of profound contradictions, I am an optimistic worrier. There must be an upside to this constant concern, right? I always have a plan B, and in the event that plan B doesn't work, I have C and D tucked away as well. Contingencies for my contingencies. And I am meticulous about details as well as having a flair for the elaborate. It takes a great deal of time to create 4 separate, complete plans for every scenario of my life and that's okay. With my frequent insomnia, I have plenty of time to hatch them.

The other upside to being a constant worrier is that I can actually be comfortable with being worried. Most people panic; I just get out my pen and paper and start drawing decision trees. If I happen to be near a computer, I crack open an excel file and begin to furiously input numbers and formulas - very handy since 90% of the time I am considering and re-considering some aspect of my finances.

I have made my peace with being a worrier (which is not the same thing as ending my worry) because I have accepted that even if I solve my current concern, another one is just over the horizon. Because I am always capable of finding something to worry about, I tend to take my time in considering my options for my current worry. Why rush through the stress when you can savor it?

I have become remarkably good at research. So as I was awake last night, I researched worrying. And for my fellow worriers out there, I have collected a few resources to help you get comfortable with worry, too.

http://www.webmd.com/ - sure to have every possible diagnosis for every arcane symptom you may have
http://www.yogajournal.com/ - the pose finder on the left side of the main page allows you to put in the problem that's ailing you so you can find poses to alleviate it
http://www.suzeorman.com/ - she has all the answers - love life, financial life. She a straight-shooter and she's entertaining.

And my favorite...
http://www.reallyworried.com/ - this website allows you type in what you're really worried about - ANYTHING - and you'll get real advice from real people. When I have some time, I am going to go through it and see if I can answer anyone else's worries. In Buddhism, there is a tenant that says, "provide for another what it is you seek for yourself". So if I want to worry less, maybe what I really need to do is help someone else worry less.

You may also enjoy this one: http://www.letitout.com/. This is the guerilla advertising campaign my Kleenex that encourages people to let their emotions show. I've fallen so much in love with these commercials and the sentiment behind them that I almost purchased a blue couch of my very for my new apartment.

When all else fails, I look at a quote by Mark Twain that I keep taped up next to my desk. "The human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter." If I can't make the worry go away, then the least I can do is have a good time with it. I'll never be the personification of serenity, though I can at least have moments of it.

2 comments:

Stephen said...

It sounds like you have things covered in the worry dept. but in case you want one more resource, take a look at www.blogtoplist.com/rss/worry.html.
This fantastic site covers critical topics including:
- How to sell your gadgets without the worry of Craigslist and ebay scams/muggings!
- Why Life Insurance Underwriters Worry About Your Hospital Stay!
- Angelina Jolie's Worry Over Brad's Family Pushing Him Towards Jennifer Anis
I find that these truly critical topics put my life worries in perspective.

richard said...

I am Richard 'ReallyWorried' Rubin and I thank you for your recent comment about ReallyWorried.com
I could do with more people like you to help spread the word.