Last week, the Team attended a Grand Rounds at a metropolitan teaching hospital, where an authoritative researcher in medicine presented current data and trends to their department.
The opening comment that moved us was this:
“Never worry alone”.
It was a message from this professionals’ mentor in their field. The admonishment was that if something bothers you, it can be a good hunch that action is needed. And sharing this is more productive than having it circulate in your mind.
The team reflected on this statement because so much of the time we do worry alone.
We worry in bed.
We worry with shame and we worry with fear. Our worry paralyzes us at times.
If we share our concern with another perhaps we can best take action--and perhaps, just the action that is needed!
We think that worry is actually a voice that plays in our head that we come to count on, which always has a similar reaction in every similar situation.
This week the team was planning to write about the concept of worry due to this meeting.
Today we see that David Brooks, an Op-ed Columnist for The Times, beat us to it.
It is so funny what is in our ‘collective unconscious’ as a society.
Brooks writes an essay called The Epidemic of Worry[i]. According to the article, he quotes election-related anxiety currently raging in America within ¾ 's of mental health patients and he cites that the American Psychological Association indicates that more than half of Americans are stressed by the presidential race.
Our team thinks that worry can change the brain chemistry. Brooks refers to altering the "atmosphere of the mind".
Worry does take you out of the present and right into your head -we agree.
Your thoughts can play over and over again with scenarios that you fear.
And you can get paralyzed in those "mind woods", we think.
Brooks describes worry, pessimism and spiraling out of rationality.
According to WebMD, over 4 million Americans have generalized anxiety disorder over a years’ time annually. GAD can begin in childhood and is more common in females. The criteria for GAD are that It has to affect you for more than six months and interfere with school or work time and functioning.
We think that worry and anxiety are different actually.
Worry perhaps we have more control over in some ways.
Anxiety we think perhaps the good bacteria in your gut has more control over. And so in this case, one can do well to take probiotics--or if mental illness, then see a doctor or health care professional.
Back to David Brooks,
We liked his comment that the answer to worry is the same as the answer to fear: direct action.
What if we wanted to create a particular outcome in our own lives?
Would we know what actions to take?
Would we then veto ourselves or engage in ‘self-talk” that agrees or opposes that of our:
partner, kids, parents, friends?
Maybe our self-talk is similar to theirs?
Perhaps they think our plan is not well thought out and the odds and chances were unlikely at best for us to achieve.
But what if we pretended we were at our own finish line?
With all that we wanted to have happen, done and perfected?
Could we then easier look at the future coming not from the past?
Perhaps we can.
We all have the dialogue playing in our heads all the time about what is not possible, what is not supposed to happen, especially not to us. And if the project is really big--not to the world.
Don’t try to shut off your dialog. You really cannot! Just let it be!
But do go and build your future.
What you are passionate about.
It is all possible if we say so.
Like David Brooks said: Make concrete plans.
Like the medical teaching expert said: Do not worry alone.
Share with others what you are embarking on and create specifics!
The time is now. Take action each day. Write it down and commit to it! Tell your friends and family. Have them support you in creating. Not in tearing down what you want to accomplish. Maybe some will have ideas to help. Go with that!
If we step out into something bigger than our fears and our worries there is a chance that they will get less loud in our heads.
And that we will produce a result.
Remember, we can choose.
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