WHY WORRY? CHAPTER XV
BY: GEORGE LINCOLN WALTON, M.D.
CONSULTING NEUROLOGIST TO THE MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL
And found no end in wandering mazes lost.
We have reviewed the various phases of worry and the elements out of which worry is assembled. It has been seen that exaggerated self-consciousness blocks effort through fear of criticism, ridicule or comment. The insistent habit of mind in the worrier has been found to permeate the content of thought, and unfavorably to influence action. The fact has been pointed out that the obsession to do the right thing may be carried so far as to produce querulous doubt and chronic indecision--hence worry.
It has been pointed out that over-anxiety on the score of health (hypochondria) aggravates existing symptoms, and itself develops symptoms; that these symptoms in turn increase the solicitude which gave them birth. Attention has been called to the influence of over-anxious and fretful days in precluding the restful state of mind that favors sleep, and to the influence of the loss of sleep upon the anxieties of the following day; in other words, worry prevents sleep, and inability to sleep adds to worry.
We have seen that doubts of fitness lead to unfitness, and that the worry of such doubts, combined with futile regrets for the past and forebodings for the future, hamper the mind which should be cleared for present action.
The injurious effect upon the nervous system of these faulty mental states has been emphasized, together with their influence as potent underlying causes of so-called nervous prostration, preparing the worrier for breakdown from an amount of work which, if undertaken with tranquil mind, could have been accomplished with comparative ease.
The question is, will the possessor of these faulty mental tendencies graspthe importance of giving thought to the training that shall free him from the incubus? He certainly has the intelligence, for it is among the intelligent that these states are mostly found; he certainly has the will-power, for lack of will-power is not a failing of the obsessed. The question is, can he bring himself to make, at the suggestion of another, a fundamental change of attitude, and will he take these suggestions on faith, though many seem trivial, others, perhaps, unreasonable, and will he at least give them a trial? I hope so.
In the next sections will be summed up such commonplace and simple suggestions as may aid emergence from the maze of worry. Many of the suggestions have been scattered through preceding sections. The worrier and folly-doubter is more likely to be benefited by trying them than by arguing about them, and it is within the realms of possibility that some may come to realize the truth of the paradox that he who loses himself shall find himself.
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