>We’ve all felt it. Stress of exams. Stress of a job. Stress of family. Stress of friends. The stress of life. What do we do about the things that stress us? We worry about them.
n. a state of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium. [dictionary.com]
Basically, we’re thrown out of whack. We aren’t at peace with ourselves or our environment. One thing to notice about the definition is bodily or mental tension. We are tense, anxious, nervous. All of those things are negative and studies have shown that stress is a contributing factor to disease. What I’ve found is that it is also a contributing factor to unhappiness.
n. to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts; fret. [dictionary.com]
This definition scares me more than stress does. We are literally tormenting ourselves when we worry. We are suffering. That’s pretty harsh isn’t it? It’s natural to worry if your child is out late, or if you’re getting home late. But if you’re like me, you are constantly worrying about school, work, food, exercise…. life.
I have lived the better part of the past couple years in a stressed state. At all times I am worrying about the future, the past… I get stressed out by all these worries. I am constantly thinking about everything that could go wrong instead of right.
|Too much stress makes us burn out.|
This is where the dreaded What if’s haunt me.
The Future: What if I fail a class? What if I don’t have a fun summer? What if I start drinking and I can’t stop? What if I don’t like biology? What if I don’t get into graduate school? What if Adam leaves me? What if my friends don’t like me? What if I lose my friends at college? What if I fall into an eating disorder again? What if I can’t defeat the negativity? What if my dad never finds a job? What if we lose our insurance? What if I can’t afford to go to college anymore? What if….
The Past: What if I really messed up my GPA this year and that ruins my college career? What if I picked the wrong classes? What if I didn’t do everything I could’ve this year? What if I hadn’t bought certain things? What if I would’ve exercised more? What if I hadn’t taken so much upon myself, would I still be as messed up? What if I picked the wrong college? What if I should have gone somewhere else? What if I’ve already ruined my future? What if…
Okay, now how many of these are legitimate worries? Not many. Some of them I have every right to worry about. But most of them, I can’t do anything about. That’s the biggest issue for me: When it comes to most of my worries, I have no power to change the situation. Thus, worrying is pretty pointless isn’t it? All it does is increase those butterflies in my stomach and add more anxiety to my life.
I spend about 80% of my time worrying. The other 20% I spend sleeping. I used to spend so much energy on worrying about what I was eating and how much I was exercising. Was I eating too much? Was I exercising enough? Did I eat too much chocolate? Should I really take another bite of that cake?