How to Stop Worrying

If only we could.

Stop worrying that is.

We all worry and get the wibber gibbers but some of us make it a full-time pre-occupation.

We worry about pretty much everything and it’s not good for us.

So what do we do?

Dale Carnegie was so concerned about the subject that in 1948 he had a book published: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

This personal development book was written at a time when mental wellbeing was not the monster it is today. There are now that many mental health books available, choosing one is stressful in itself. But why bother? Save yourself the hassle and take a look at this one.

Dale’s book is still around and people still refer to it and access it and that’s because everything in it is still relevant and real, pandemic or not.

His book was written post-war when the world might have been free of the tyranny of Nazism but there was plenty to worry about.

Dale’s book covers a lot of ground and includes a range of tips such as:

  • Fundamental facts you should know about worry
  • Basic techniques in analysing worry
  • How to break the worry habit before it breaks you
  • Seven ways to cultivate a mental attitude that will bring you peace and happiness
  • The golden rule for conquering worry
  • How to keep from worrying about criticism and keep your energy and spirits high
  • How to find the kind of work in which you may be happy and successful
  • How to lessen your financial worries

The book also contains a number of personal tips from those who have conquered worry.

And do they work? Well, these are timeless core principles. For example,

“The remedy for worry is to get completely occupied doing something con­struc­tive.”

Keep busy. The worried person must lose himself in action, lest he wither in despair.

Personally, I have plenty to worry about. Receiving palliative care for cancer puts me in a whole box of worry but I utter the same three words that Rudolf Abel says in Bridge of Spies and it seems to work: “Would it help?”

Bridge of Spies is an excellent true story (see Giles Whittell) about a lawyer who was brokering deals for hostages with the Soviet Union during the Cold War in the 1950s. The brilliant Tom Hanks plays the main character, James Donovan, who is  tasked with the unwanted  job of defending a Russian spy by the name of Rudolf Abel, played by the superb Mark Rylance.

During his trial and in the hostage negotiations Abel remained stoic and showed little emotion and during the tough moments Donovan would ask Rudolf, “Aren’t you worried?” and every single time he would offer the deadpan response, “Would it help?”

Worrying doesn’t help. It only makes things worse. If being anxious or manifesting concern would improve a situation then it’s worth doing but seriously, has there ever been a time when that has really worked?


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