It used to be one of those myths that worry will make your hair turn grey. I didn’t believe in that myth when I was 10 years old, 20, 30 or even 40. Now that I am approaching 50 it is definitely a possible instigator.
I am not saying that everyone who has grey or white hair worried a ton. I do see people I know are worrying seem like they are getting more grey hair rapidly.
Anyway, grey hair is actually a mild reason to NOT worry.
There are many other, significantly more daunting, consequences to worry. And virtually no benefits. Well, worry could, on a rare random occasion, propel an action that mitigates the situation you were worrying about. But it is rare and it is usually random.
Sticking with the theme here about NOT worrying, here are a bunch of reasons:
- Worry aggravates your spouse or family members. It makes them feel helpless. How can they help you? And besides, even if they do try and don’t aggravate you more, rarely do you stop worrying.
- Worry takes up the space in your mind that is needed to solve problems, relate to others, get stuff done. It is hard to be really productive if your mind is busy worrying.
- It is the opposite of what Jesus tells us to do. Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Actually, all of the verses from Matthew 6:26-34 are about how we shouldn’t worry. I wrote a whole post about anxiety called If Nothing Is Different, Why Am I So Anxious?.
- I think worry is one of the biggest impacts to our health. Even if you eat right and exercise. It can be destroyed by anxiety. I have seen many fit people in counseling with many somatic (physical) symptoms. Worry makes you feel bad.
- Another impact to our health is the fact that worry makes us not sleep. Haven’t you ever woken up at 2:30 a.m. and the gerbil wheel of worry gets started. It is like worry on steroids. And the middle of the night makes everything seem worse. As a matter of fact, this is the absolute worst time to worry because everything seems 10x worse. The result is that you end up tired, with a sore jaw from grinding your teeth, and poor posture because worry makes you slump.
- One of the worst consequences to worrying about something is that our imagination takes over and we begin to add to the worry. Especially creative people. We can think of many ways that the situation is even worse than we thought, even during the middle of the day. But it is worse at night….see above.
- It’s contagious. Once I let anxiety back into my life I find that it takes on a life of its’ own. Soon I am making my kids call me when they get to the store which is only 2 1/2 minutes away. Or if they don’t text me back immediately I know some horrible fatal end has come to them.
- And who knows, it could be contagious to your kids too. I would hate to raise three worriers, with bad health, who weren’t trusting Jesus either.
- As a small business owner, worrying a lot can have dire results. Your staff may think the business is failing because you are so anxious. Then they have to go find another job that they feel is secure. Then you have something else to worry about.
- Another consequence to your business is that you will get bogged down in all of the details. You feel you need to check everything. Then you can’t grow. Then your business is destined to stay the size that will fit into your capacity to worry and micro-manage.
- Sometimes our anxious mind conjures up inaccurate assumptions and then we act to fix something that wasn’t even reality to begin with. We over-react and can actually break something that didn’t need fixing.
I used to worry like an olympian. That was when I was young and had more energy. Back then I could worry and still get a few other things done. I had more capacity.
Then I burned out, from too much worry and too much work. Something had to go. When I found God I quit my all consuming career and quit worrying. I really tried to trust Jesus instead. I used to read Matthew 6:26-34 often.
I also constantly read Proverbs 3:5-6:
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.
These verses and the Holy Spirit really helped me to get a handle on worry for years.
Then my twins turned 16 and both started driving at the same time.
I wonder when people see me now if they are thinking “Wow she sure turned grey overnight”.
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