My dear friend Michael paces the distance between his bathroom and kitchen in his Los Angeles condo every morning, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for a couple of hours.
"What is that you're thinking over when you pace like that?" his roommate, Jim, wondered.
"I am worrying," replied Michael.
"Do you have different worries every morning, or is it basically the same worries over and over again?" wondered his roommate.
"The same worries that I've had all of my life. Of course, the names and places change, but it's basically the same worry format," replied Michael.
"And is there any creative thought or problem solving that goes on?" queried Jim.
"No," replied Michael, after considering the question carefully.
"So why do you do it?" asked Jim.
"It's just what I do," answered Michael, nonchalantly.
Of course, worrying is harmless, unless you pace and pace, wearing down a noticeable dingy pacing pathway on an expensive rug. That kind of worry will cost you money in the long run: High quality rugs are difficult, if not impossible, to repair. That rug will more than likely have to be replaced completely. Is a worry habit that is unproductive in every way really worth the money it will cost you?
In fact, any kind of worry habit will cost you a lot more that just money: Worry leads to stress. Stress is at the heart of most illnesses. Even bacterial and viral infections are less likely to successfully impose upon your existence if you are less stressed. Ill health might not only lead to medical bills but really, if you don't have health and well-being, what do you have in life?
Don't get me wrong: I'm not against making good use of our brain power through problem solving, brain storming or the successful organization of life and the events that might occur within it. I'm simply pointing out that most worry is pointless, useless and ultimately weakening to the body and the mind. And yet, it is considered such a normal indulgence. Perhaps that's because it's something that is done without knowing that it's even happening.
Worry is a habit, perhaps even a compulsion. Am I raising awareness about a worrisome worry epidemic? Yes. Worrisome thoughts generally lead to a fearsome emotional state. The state of fear can lead to comforting consumption as a means of self-soothing. However, comforting consumption of goods in order to self-soothe can lead to obesity, hoarding, debt, substance abuse, over population and a general cultural, overly-consumptive habit. It might even affect our economy negatively. Perhaps it already has. Hasn't there been some mention of debt in the recent news? I seem to remember hearing about a debt ceiling issue, and before that there was a debt related subprime mortgage issue, or something?
But let's not worry. Instead, let's determine what we can do. Problem solved: Stop wasting energy with worry.
The real question at hand is this: Are you using your mind, or is it using you?