Why Worry So Much ?

‘Tis all a Chequer-board of Nights and Days

Where Destiny with Men for Pieces plays:

Hither and thither moves, and mates, and slays,

and one by one back in the Closet lays.’

Omar Khayyam  (RUBAIYAT)


Life has a beginning and an ending and obviously what happens between those two points is important. Khayyam attributes destiny as the architect of the moves in the game of life.

However, free will is also important and cultivating mindfulness allows choices and outcomes to be different. Squandering time, energy and opportunity with needless worry is to be avoided as much as possible.

The ‘ work of worry’ does allow planning for various contingencies and is useful and practical. Completion of these processes can lead to a good feeling of accomplishment. By contrast, futile worry is circular, unproductive and does not resolve problems or  provide options for management. This leads nowhere except to uncomfortable feelings, perhaps anxiety and depressed mood.

If we are not absolutely sure that the outcome of a situation is a particularly unwanted and perhaps feared one, it can be useful to repeat the mantra to oneself :  ‘How do I know this will happen FOR SURE? ‘. If the outcome does become certain and is unwanted, then it is useful to problem solve the most helpful course of action for management of the problem.

Sometimes this is the least- worst course of action of all the remedies available, if none of them seem desireable. This, though, is positive action and not circular, unproductive worry.

The most usual scenario for worry is when the outcome is not yet certain and an unwanted outcome or ‘story’ is repeated endlessly in the mind.

This ‘story’ is like a memory stick plugged into a computer which plays a certain program.The memory stick- like pattern can be changed by an act of conscious willpower — to a different, also uncertain, story but with a different, happier outcome. These stories or narratives to oneself can be deliberately chosen to produce a more empowered feeling. With practice, stories can be readily and easily interchanged. All may have uncertainty in the world at large until more information comes to light. The facts of a particular outcome can be faced when the outcome IS certain. Until then, free will can be used to facilitate a calmer state of mind with a positive, reassuring narrative. In this way, worry is like a bad habit that can be replaced with a good habit.

Other possibly useful ways of dealing with unwanted worry include distraction towards other tasks or activities including hobbies,socialising or exercise.

Relaxation techniques can be employed and meditation of various types may be useful. Targeted self-reparenting, as described in an earlier blog, can be fundamental in soothing locked in historical worries at the child ego state level.

Anything that relieves stress and anxiety will reduce obsessional thinking and vice-versa. Quick fixes like overuse of alcohol or other drugs do not solve the underlying problem and generally create other problems.


If you require the services of a Perth Psychologist or Perth Counsellor, please contact me at Makomdavid@gmail.com