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Confessions of a Worrier

Confessions of a Chronic Worrier

Worrying is one of those things that just comes natural for me. It's like an old friend that you've outgrown, but they just won't go away. I've tried reasoning, I've tried lecturing, but my stubborn mind just doesn't seem to want to discard it's worrying counterpart. So, I've learned to live with it, and sometimes even enjoy it.

The thing about being a worrier is that you need something to worry about. It's like an addict waiting for her next fix. If you don't have something in the present to process through your worrying mind, and contemplate what you need to do to resolve it; you just worry that something catastrophic will happen in the future.

Once you finally get through the situation which has caused you worry, there is a period, ever so slight, of temporarily relaxation. And to us worriers, a relaxed mind means there must be something else to be worried about! So, you can't even enjoy the success which resulted from your last worry.

And forget finding any pleasure in a worry when it's actually happening. The whole nature of it speaks "stress" to your body and mind. Your thoughts race on all the possible negative consequences of a given situation. You relinquish yourself to your own voice verbalizing the infinite negative outcomes to any friend or stranger nearby.

"Don't drive behind cars with trailers or cars with household goods attached to their roofs. They will come off, slam into your vehicle and cause you to lose control", as I reiterate to every friend who has the pleasure of driving with me.

"Don't park in this spot, you'll get dinged from the car door next to you. Park on an end, not under trees in case birds decide to decorate your car, and not too close to the sidewalk in case anyone walking by decides to park their body against your car...or worse yet, a child falls from his bike right against the vehicle."

Now, mind you, these examples are a minuscule portion of worries a chronic worrier can have throughout a day. Usually we can be riddled with thousands of worries. When we do have real problems, gosh, friends and family prefer to take cover.

There are advantages, however, to chronic worrying as I've learned to celebrate over the years.

First, it's easy to join the club. By the time you hang around a chronic worrier, you become so stressed out yourself, you begin to think like one. We, initiators of this contagious perspective, like that you join the club. With someone else worrying about things when we are with them, it gives us less to worry about.

Next, we are very thorough and creative. If anything, any time, anywhere of any given situation has a possible scenario to consider, you had better believe, we've already considered it! No genuine need for others to worry their minds about it..unless, of course, you want to join our club.

We get a lot of exercise. Parking six miles away from a store in order to find the "safest" parking spot helps build up our cardiovascular system. Mentally, we can't ever grow old and lose our minds from inactivity. There's too much going on upstairs for dementia to set in.

We have great self-esteem. If you worry about something long enough, it usually happens. This gives us a greater self worth knowing that we are usually right about what it is we worried about in the first place. It's sort of a self-filling prophecy. Worry, it happens, worry, it happens. Our success fuels our process.

We are believed to have psychic connections. A good friend of mine actually thought I made things happen from my negative thought process of any given or potential situation. She insisted my negative energy created negative outcomes. Imagine that! Was she telling me that my worrying mind could actually move objects and events to how I believed they would result? I decided my mind must be very powerful to do that!

We are always prepared. Please! Must this even be stated. We are more successful in this area than anyone I've ever known. I have every type of insurance one can have for any given situation. If there's an earthquake, I'm covered if the whole place crumbles. Prepared? I even tell friends where I'll be standing in my apartment when the quake hits, just in case they need to look for me in the rubble.

If there's a fire, I have an escape route, ladder and plan. I'm insured enough to put myself into a mansion should my apartment catch fire.

I have back-up plans for back-up plans on everything...just in case the first one fails. But you can't underestimate this quality. When disaster does hit, whether it's as minor as needing a handywipe or as major as needing CPR, I'm ready!

Sometimes I actually do try not to worry. If I'm stressing out those around me too much, I'll try to lay back a bit. In reality, I just try to verbalize it less; but you can be assured, my mind is still worrying. I take it on like a 12-step process...only instead of one day at a time, I use the one minute at a time approach.

If you ever thought dieting was a difficult thing to do, try to stop a chronic worrier from worrying. We're lucky to get through five minutes without our worry fix. An hour without worrying and it would probably mean we were drugged or dead.

As you can see, worrying has its benefits and its shortcomings. But, like that old friend with the qualities we'd like to part from, we just can't keep it away because its been around too long. It may get on our nerves from time to time, but we just learn to accept its presence and cherish the security it provides us.

But mostly, and quite simply, it just seems illogical and counterproductive to worry about being a chronic worrier when there are so many other things to worry about.

Elizabeth Cohen is a writer for, Inc. She may be reached at

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