why worrying is a good thing

By M.Farouk Radwan, MSc.

Worrying is a good thing

Let's suppose that you have an important exam in few days and that you didn't study anything yet. If you didn't worry about getting bad grades then there is a possibility that you won't study and possibility fail.

Worrying is thus your mind's alarm system that it uses when it believes that there is some kind of a threat. Without worrying you will miss good opportunities, make big mistakes and even put your life at risk. See Why worrying is not pointless.

The problem with so many happiness schools is that they try to make people think that worrying is pointless and as a result ask people to completely ignore their worries. When i talked about Panic attacks before i said that if the mind found no proper response from the person, after it sent a simple alarm, then it will send a more powerful alarm to bring the person's attention to the important matter.

Your worries might start as simple thoughts that are not that scary or annoying but as you keep ignoring them they will become so intense until they might cause panic attacks or more serious disorders.

In short, worrying is not a bad thing because it has a purpose. Worrying becomes bad when we ignore our worries until they grow and become intolerable.

When worrying gets bad

Now there are cases where a person might receive a false alarm from their brain and as a result worry about something that will never happen. The problem with the worrying alarm is that it depends upon a person's beliefs and perception.

If a person's mind misinterpreted a signal then fired an alarm then worrying will happen for no logical reason. In my book The 5 Minute Happiness Formula i said that a great deal of worrying can be removed completely as soon as these perception errors are fixed.

Now the second mistake so many people do when trying to deal with worrying is assuming that all of their worries are irrational where as many of their worries are based on real life problems that their minds are concerned about. See Why do i worry when i try to do anything.

If you are doing really bad in your job and if there is a risk that you get laid off then you can't assume that your worries about the future are irrational. In such a case your mind wants you to do something about your job and future and this is why it's making you worry.

So many happiness schools mistakenly try to motivate people to push away their worries in order to get over them and this results in more serious problems. This is why trying to use meditation or mindfulness to combat worrying only results in complicating the worrying problem even more. See Why Meditation never worked for you.

In such a case you will be trying to stop the alarm that was fired by your brain because it was concerned about something. And when that happens the brain will respond back with a stronger and more powerful alarm.

Understand your worries

If you want to end worrying then you first need to understand the purpose behind them. In some cases the worries might be caused by perception problems and so ending them requires fixing your incorrect perception.

In other cases worrying will be nothing more than a warning sign sent by your mind to warn you about something. And in some other cases the same alarm might be sent in an indirect way to warn you about something that you are too afraid to face.

If you are afraid of the future then you might worry about your job for example. In other words even when worrying seems pointless it can have a hidden purpose and by getting enough self understanding you can know that purpose.

Worrying is good but your attitude towards it is the bad thing.

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