Worry is a fear-like response to a non-immediate situation
which we perceive as a threat. For example, we might worry about
an exam which will occur tomorrow. Worry is related to
Fear. Fear is a response to an immediate situation
which we perceive as a threat. In both fear and worry, we
perceive a threat; we analyze our defenses and we conclude that
they might be inadequate; and we attempt to formulate an
Anxiety. Anxiety is a fear-like response to life in
general. It is not a response to any particular thing.
Worry is an emotional, mental, and physiological response.
Emotional. The three emotions are fear, anger, and love.
Worry is an aberration of fear.
Mental. The mental process is similar for fear and worry.
However, in fear, we are analyzing and planning for an actual
situation and the immediate possibilities which might arise
from that situation; in worry, we are analyzing and planning
for a situation which might not occur at all. In fear, the
event is generally based on a physical event; in worry, the
event is generally based in our imagination.
Physiological. As in the experience of fear, worry can
cause an increase of heartbeat-rate, an increase in
respiration, the release of adrenaline and other chemicals, and
other physiological changes.
positive and negative aspects of worry.
The positive aspects of worry.
Worry is our attempt to plan for the future. We are
considering possible dangers and defenses. (However, we can
plan for the future without "worrying," which also includes
Worry can direct our attention toward a problem or a
hazard. If we "can't stop worrying," we probably need to work
on the problem about which we are worrying. (However, we can
direct our attention without worrying.)
Worry can motivate us to solve a problem. For example, if
we worry about the possible health-hazards of smoking
cigarettes, our dislike of the worrying might motivate us to
quit smoking. (However, we can be motivated without the
additional discomfort which is caused by worrying.)
Worry can help us to rehearse our response to situations.
For example, if we worry about having a car accident, we are
imagining how we would react in an accident. (However, our
rehearsals are always incorrect; they do not include the
specific details of the possible event, and so our imagined
response is always inappropriate to the event which could
occur. Also, our worrying generates charged archetypal-field
elements which must be discharged; therefore, we are likely to
create a car accident simply to discharge those elements, i.e.,
the thoughts, images, energy tones, and actions.)
Worry can be an attempt to express concern, caring, and
love. For example, we might say to someone, "I worry about
you." (However, that statement can be interpreted as
patronizing and insulting.)
Worry can be stimulating in a dull life. In our real life,
our challenges might be very small, but in our worrying
imagination, we can confront huge, exciting, melodramatic
problems. (However, we can gain stimulation through the
productive activities of real life, so that we avoid the
negative aspects of worry.)
The negative aspects of worry.
Many of the negative aspects were mentioned in the
rebuttals in the section regarding "the positive aspects
Worry can warp our perceptions of the world. We might start
to believe that world is more dangerous than it really is; for
example, in our worrying imagination, we might experience many
fights, car accidents, murders, and other disasters which never
occur. Our actual life might be relatively safe and secure.
Worry can be a substitute for action. If someone confronts
us regarding our inaction in a problem, we might defend
ourselves with the statement that "I am worrying about
it," as though worrying will magically solve the problem, or
that it will fulfill our responsibility regarding the problem.
Worry is a misuse of the imagination. Instead of using the
imagination for creative problem-solving, we are using it for
Worry can be used as an excuse to interfere in other
people's lives. We might say, "I am worried. The worry causes
discomfort in me. Therefore, I am justified in meddling in your
life, in order to ease my own discomfort."
for managing worry.
Archetypal field-work. Field-work is a direct reply to worry;
in both cases, we are generating thoughts, images, energy tones,
and actions. Worrying implants "negative" elements in our
archetypal fields; those elements must be discharged -- sometimes
by creating the specific circumstance about which we were
Self-talk. For example: "I have faith in the basic
benevolence of life." "Life is generally peaceful." "I take
care of my responsibilities."
Directed imagination. For example, we can imagine a
pleasant outcome to the situation.
Energy toning. We can generate energy tones of hope,
The "as if" principle. We can act as if we believe that a
pleasant outcome will occur.
Intuition. Intuition can tell us how to prepare for possible
disasters. And it can tell us whether a situation is likely to
cause harm; if intuition indicates that a situation is safe for
us, we have no reason to worry.
We can act to prevent problems which might occur, or to
resolve problems which are already occurring. For example, if we
study for an exam, we are less likely to worry about it.
We can focus our attention on the present moment, instead of
We can learn about fear. Because worry is related to fear,
some of the same concepts and techniques can be used for both
We can develop self-confidence.
We can realize that most worrisome events never occur. As we
review out past worries, we see that most of them were unfounded.
The evaluation can indicate that we might be worrying too much.
We can develop faith in the basic benevolence of life or a
deity. After we do whatever we can do to prevent or resolve a
problem, we have faith that the situation will be resolved for the
best of everyone involved.
We realize that we have survived similar situations. Even if
the situation is difficult and unpleasant, we are likely to come
through it with little or no damage. We are generally strong and
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