In the last few years there has been a great interest amongst doctors, researchers, and people in the field of psychology concerning the effect worry has on health. Worry is one of the causes of stress that can, in turn, create stress-related illnesses. It is interesting that the word “worry” comes from old English and originally means to choke or strangle. If we think about the original meaning of the word “worry”, we find that it accurately describes what worrying does to us.
When we choke or are strangled, we cannot breathe. Our air supply is cut off and we struggle for life. While we may not associate choking with worry, if we think about it, when we worry we are actually cutting off our life. We may not show signs of physical distress right away, but slowly over time, our body exhibits some form of deterioration. Stress produces hormones that were meant for escaping danger. We either run or fight. It sends hormones that pump up our strength in our arms or legs to run or fight. But when we feel stress without the necessity of running or fighting, those hormones circulate through our body. An excess of these hormones have the effect of causing long-term damage to different parts of the body. Although we do not choke or become strangled, they definitely cause physical illness over time.
The next time we start to worry, we can consider whether it is worth the time of our precious lives to engage in thoughts about things that may or may not ever happen. If there is really a danger, then instead of worrying, we should make specific plans to avert the threat. If we take actions, we have done all we can do. We do not need to supplement those actions with worry. Taking action is useful; but worry is useless. We do our best, and then put in the remaining time to something that is going to be beneficial to other people or ourselves. In this way, we can eliminate one-third of our worries.
Another cause for worry is events that happened in the past that we cannot change. It may be true that what has happened in the past was not to our liking or to the liking of other people. Once the event is gone, it does no one any good to worry about it. What has happened has happened. Worrying about it will not change it; worry will only make us sick. Thus, we suffer doubly for the events of the past. We suffered once for the situation we did not like. But then we suffer repeatedly each moment we worry about it because it makes us relive that situation again and again in our minds. It is like replaying the same bad movie over and over. Isn’t once enough?
One of the best ways to declare independence from worry is to trust in God. Sometimes in life we go through good times and at other times, difficulties. When things are going well for us we believe in God. However, when despite our best efforts and goodness of heart we hit bad times, then we question whether there is God.
In our own lives, we can reflect on times when we worried that things were not going our way. We began to question God and how bad things could happen to us. Yet, later we come to realise that in the end all worked out for the best. What seemed to be a setback actually was a blessing, because things in the end worked out better than we could have arranged them for ourselves.
We realise that God is always with us and looking out for us. Sometimes we cannot see it right away but at the appropriate time we find out that God’s wisdom knew what was best for us.
One way to develop trust in God is to meditate. When we meditate and go within we discover God within us. Then, there is no more questioning of whether there is God or not. We come to see God and all the wonders within. With this awareness, we no longer have to question God’s wisdom. We see God’s hand in all things and know that whatever happens is for the best for us.