• David Unger, PhD

Worry


"Worry is the interest you pay on a debt you may not owe.” Keith Caserta, Soul Searching


I was driving and listening to an audiobook when I heard the above quote. I quickly repeated it and hoped I would not forget it by the time I was able to transcribe it. I kept repeating it to help me remember. And I worried I would forget it. My worrying about remembering the quote was the interest I was paying on a debt it may very well turn out I didn't owe. And yet I wasn't ready to quit worrying and repeating the quote for fear that my memory might do me in.


I don't know how well your memory works, but mine has sieve-like qualities... don't know how well your memory works, but mine has sieve-like qualities. I want to hold on to a memory, but like a dream many seem to slip away. I kept trying to repeat the quote so maybe it would get it imprinted, but by the time I got some place I could write it down all I could recall was "worry on a debt not due." I Googled that and gratefully found the Keith Caserta quote. It amused me that I was worried, because maybe there was no need to worry. I was paying the interest on a debt I might not have had to assume.


I got to thinking about worry and how much of worry is about anticipation of things you cannot control. I wouldn't know till I went to write it down if I would remember the quote or a sufficient amount of it to be able to find it. I didn't know how good or bad I would feel if I remembered or forgot it.


The more I thought about it, the more I realized for the umpteenth time that worry really is less than useful. Worry, by its nature, is stress-inducing. There can be beneficial levels of stress so that maybe a little worry could be called a good thing, yet most stress is not helpful. And, worse, I didn't think the worrying was going to help me to remember the quote. It would, more likely, decrease my chances of remembering it as stress interferes with learning.


I didn't like that idea. If worry is mostly not helpful, I would now need to worry about worrying less. I would need to focus on worrying less and nip it in the bud when I got on a roll. Easy to say, but how was I going to do that? How was I going to teach myself to reduce my worrying?


Having been a licensed therapist for a number of years and helped numerous clients break bad habits, I had some ideas about how to start. The obvious one being at the beginning. First, I needed to be aware that I wanted to reduce my worrying. I don't need to take on any unnecessary debts.


I am happy to share my journey with this, as I imagine I am not the only person who worries more than they would like. So, I am going to start with the awareness and own that I am a worrier and I want to pay more attention to those times I am worrying. I want to try to bring something else to those moments to reduce or eliminate that worry. My plan right now is when I catch myself worrying about something to change the channel - to move my thoughts to something else. And, knowing me, once I find myself back worrying I will once again change the channel. This will be my new channel surfing activity. I will keep you posted. I am happy to hear any strategies you use to reduce your worrying behavior. We do get by with some help from our friends.


#worry #soul #KeithCaserta

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