Stella Leventoyannis Harvey

Useless Worry

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” Leo Buscaglia

When I worry, as I have done a lot of recently, I repeat Mr. Buscaglia’s quote. I also ask myself: why are you thinking about these things? What are you afraid might happen? Sometimes understanding the underlying cause helps, other times, not so much. I run or exercise to get my mind off of my worries. Breathlessness seems to help erase anything else I’m thinking about.

Another strategy is talking things through. It takes me a while to do this. I have a tendency to mull problems over on my own before I share them. I know this is hard to believe since I’m usually such an open book. But don’t let appearances fool you.

Oh, and speaking about books, I usually read to get my mind off of things, but of late I’ve been distracted and I’m finding it hard to focus.

There are likely many reasons for my current hyper state of worry, some personal, others more global. For example, I feel a sense of dread every time I read the papers or watch the news. From so-called leaders acting dangerously to environmental issues to ongoing wars to the gassing of innocent citizens, it feels as though we’re living in a particularly frightening time. One wrong move could lead to annihilation.

And yet, the other day, I listened to an interview on CBC’s The Current with host Anna Maria Tremonti and author, Steven Pinker about why we should be happy to be alive right now.

Mr. Pinker gave several wonderful examples of how life is so much better for all of us than it ever has been. It’s only our pessimism that obscures our eyes to what has been accomplished. From the fields of medical science to our every day lives, he gave several examples including: increased life expectancy, decreased poverty, fewer wars (hard to believe), and more equality.

When I finished listening to the interview I felt more positive about the world and grateful. And then like all news junkies, I went back to perusing the headlines. Hm, maybe that’s my problem.

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