The ‘Greatest’ Worry [v195]

MAY 2015

The ‘Greatest’ Worry

A few weeks ago I read an ABC News story entitled: “Top 15 Issues That Have Americans Worried.” It was based on a Gallup Poll that had just been released.

The poll cites that the percentage of Americans who worry “a great deal” about the possibility of a terrorist attack in the U.S. has now reached 51%, and worries over the economy and the availability and affordability of health care each are causing “a great deal” of concern for more than 50% of Americans.

Topics that worry Americans “a great deal”:
54% – The availability and affordability of healthcare
53% – The economy
51% – The possibility of future terrorist attacks in the U.S.
46% – The Social Security system
46% – The size and power of the federal government
46% – The way income and wealth are distributed in the U.S.
43% – Hunger and homelessness
43% – Crime and violence
39% – Illegal immigration
38% – Drug use
37% – Unemployment
34% – The quality of the environment
28% – The availability and affordability of energy
28% – Race relations
25% – Climate change


Now, though I did read the specific concerns that people are worried about, I ‘stepped back’ a bit to notice the bigger issue: “worry,” “anxiety,” and “distress.”

After a search of a variety of reputable medical studies and associations, I found out that “worry/anxiety” is the number one mental health disorder in America!

While there are over 200 classified forms of mental illness, the Mental Health Association cites the five major categories of mental illness are (starting with what affects the most people):
– Anxiety disorders
– Mood disorders
– Schizophrenia/psychotic disorders
– Dementias
– Eating disorders

It is estimated that over one’s entire lifetime, the average American has a 47.4% chance of having some kind of mental health disorder—and that America has the highest prevalence of this in the world! (anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting more than 40 million adults age 18 and older—over 18% of the U.S. population) [ Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) ].

For a comparison, after the U.S., Ukraine, Colombia, New Zealand, Lebanon, and France have the next highest rates of mental health disorders of any kind, all falling between 18.9% and 21.4 percent—less than half that of the U.S. Japan, the People’s Republic of China, Nigeria, and Israel have the lowest rates (between 6.0% and 7.4%) [ World Health Organization (WHO) ].

Anxiety disorders cost the U.S. more than $42 billion a year (almost one-third of the country’s $148 billion total mental health bill), according to “The Economic Burden of Anxiety Disorders” study commissioned by the ADAA.

More than half ($22.84 billion) of those costs are associated with the repeated use of health care services by people with anxiety disorders seeking relief for symptoms that mimic physical illnesses.

Ron Kessler, Ph.D., the Harvard researcher who headed much of the WHO’s mental health research, says that, by and large, people in less-developed countries are less depressed. After all, he says, when you’re literally trying to survive, who has time for depression? Americans, on the other hand, many of whom lead relatively comfortable lives, blow other nations away in the depression factor, leading some to suggest that depression is a “luxury disorder.”

Another variable that has strong predictive power, at least for anxiety, has to do with what you have compared to the people around you. Kessler says, for example, that if your house is worth $500,000 but everyone else in your neighborhood has $1 million homes, this factor alone is one of the best predictors of anxiety and depression. But when everyone is in the same boat, no matter how humble or lowly the quarters, there’s typically a lot less depression. Therefore, it’s not the objective conditions of life that matter, it’s your subjective perception of how you ‘measure up’—or what you “lack.”


The thing is, many people are worried and anxious about events that will never actually will happen to them. Mark Twain once said, “My life has been filled with calamities, some of which actually happened.” There seems to be nothing more fictitious than the worry that goes on in our heads—and there’s studies that prove it. Researchers of one such study, at the University of Cincinnati, found that 85% of what we worry about never happens. Moreover, the study found that 79% of us handle the 15% that does happen in ways that surprise us with our ability to turn the situation around.

We laugh at Mark Twain’s comment because we can see ourselves in it. But worry is no ‘joke’. It can have a negative effect on your health—making you tired, stressed, speed up the aging process, and sometimes causing you to be more prone to depression.

When you worry, your body responds to your anxiety the same way it would react to physical danger. To help you cope with the physical demands you are about to ask your body to perform, your brain releases stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol into the bloodstream. They trigger a range of physical reactions that will equip your body for action.

Your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes heavier and you may sweat more. You may also become pale as the blood moves away from the skin towards the muscles to help them prepare for the ‘fight or flight’ situation your worry has created.

The ‘fight or flight’ response is your body’s instinctive reaction to danger. Unconsciously, your body prepares itself to either run away from the danger, or becomes very alert in order to fight the ‘predators’.

But, many of the things we worry about today cannot be dealt with by fighting or running away. Credit card bills, bad relationships or stress at work cannot be dealt with physically, but our body still remains in a state of anxiety…ready for action.

This means that the stress hormones are still circulating in the blood stream. Studies say that over a prolonged period of time, raised levels of these chemicals can start to have a toxic effect on the glands, nervous system, and the heart, eventually leading to heart attacks, increased risk of stroke, and stomach ulcers.
Because your body has ‘tensed’ and is ready to respond to the threat you are feeling, this muscle tension can turn into aches and pains causing headaches, back pain, weak legs, and trembling. This tension can also affect your digestive system, triggering bouts of constipation or diarrhea.

You may also become more prone to infections. It is widely accepted that stress and anxiety can lower your immune system, making you more susceptible to picking up colds or more serious illnesses. With excessive worry, our immune systems have little time to recover, so you become even more tired and lethargic.
Worrying also has an effect on our brains. Excessive worry disturbs your peace of mind, making it harder for you to concentrate on one task at a time.

This means it may also be difficult for you to fall asleep at night. Once you are suffering from insomnia, many worriers start to worry about that as well making their symptoms even worse.

Worry may also make you absent minded or neglectful of your health. You may feel too stressed to eat properly so you are not getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet. This could speed up the aging process as you are not replenishing your skin, muscles, or brain with the right nutrients from your food.
Excessive worry can even lead into depression. If you start to worry about everyone and everything day and night, feel that life is unfair, justice does not exist, or you become paranoid that people will betray you, these could be the first warning signs of serious depression.


When we’re worried or under stress, all we see are problems. Worry can’t change our past or future, but it can ruin the present. When we dwell on the past or future, we lack motivation to make progress now. If you’re preoccupied with “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios, worry becomes a problem. Unrelenting doubts and fears can be paralyzing. They can sap your emotional energy, send your anxiety levels soaring, and interfere with your daily life.

If we focus on the fact that we’re not enjoying something, it becomes tedious. A student squirming in a class believes there’s somewhere else he needs to be. As soon as that bell rings, his whole world seems to ‘change’—but has it? We live in the world of our mind, our heart, our thoughts. A bell doesn’t change our world, but what we ‘attach’ to the bell—our attitude—can change. When we learn to accept the situation we’re in, we find the power to change—not necessarily the situation—but our perspective, which ‘disarms’ the worry.


Now, worrying can be helpful when it spurs you to take action and solve a problem, and chronic worrying is a mental habit that CAN BE BROKEN! You just have to train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more positive perspective.

So then, specifically, how does one go about ‘defeating’ worry?

Well, first off, one should distinguish between solvable and unsolvable worries. For the ‘solvable’ ones, the following questions can help you develop a more balanced perspective:

– What’s the evidence that the thought is true? That it’s not true?
– Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?
– What’s the probability that what I’m scared of will actually happen?
– If the probability is low, what are some more likely outcomes?
– Can you do something about the problem or prepare for it, or is it out of your control?
– Will worrying about it help me or hurt me?


Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D., the author of “The Worry Cure: 7 Steps to Stop Worry From Stopping You” and the director of the American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York City gives his “nine steps to worry-busting”:
– Make a List
– Analyze the List
– Embrace Uncertainty
– Bore Yourself Calm
– Make Yourself Uncomfortable
– Stop The Clock
– It’s Never As Bad As You Think
– Cry Out Loud
– Talk About It

Dr. Leahy then suggests that after you’ve done all the ‘analysis’, there’s also worry-busting ‘relaxation’ techniques you can do—such as deep breathing, and meditation. Since it’s impossible to be anxious and relaxed at the same time, strengthening your body’s relaxation response is a powerful worry-busting tactic.
Once we’ve quieted the brain, control will shift from the lower to the higher brain where creative intelligence kicks in. We start to see solutions. This simple tool is a powerful first step in rewiring the brain to extinguish worry at the point of inception.


What if you’re dealing with ‘unsolvable’ worries? Well, my strong suggestion is to give it over to ‘Someone’ that has unlimited ‘power’ to change things, and Who is on your side, no matter what happens. That would be the God of the Bible!

The Bible tells us that God is faithful—that He can be counted on to come through for us, so we should trust Him totally and completely. When we do, we’ll be ready for anything that may come our way.

Jesus said, “Come to Me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” [ Matthew 11:28 ]


God loves you, and He has promised to take care of you—to meet your legitimate needs. I am not promising that God will give you everything you want. He won’t do for you what you can do yourself. You must do what you can do, and then trust God to do what you can’t. When we humble ourselves and ask for His help, then He’s able to release His ‘power’ in our situations. It’s only then that we can really enjoy life.

God didn’t create us to worry about helping ourselves all the time. Instead of making ourselves miserable trying to figure everything out on our own, God wants us to place our trust in Him and enter into His rest, totally abandoning ourselves to His care: “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that He may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you” [ 1 Peter 5:6-7 ].


In the Old Testament, God told King David, “Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart” [ Psalm 37:3-4 ].

You can trust God to do what’s best for you, so you don’t have to worry about it. Placing your faith in Him is the only antidote for worry and fear. He loves us unconditionally with a perfect, and complete love. Knowing this should help us feel better about ourselves, and deliver us from the tormenting negative emotions of worry and fear.

In the New Testament, Jesus was ‘explaining’ a bit more about what He had just said in His “Sermon on the Mount” (or “The Beatitudes”):

“For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? “Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? “And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? “And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! “Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ “For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” [ Matthew 6:25–34 ].


To emphasize this a bit more, just before Jesus was done with His ‘teaching’ on the Mount, He alluded to how “narrow the road” is that leads to ‘life’, something that most consider to be our “GREATEST WORRY”—that of dying…and what comes after.

The end of life confronts us with the issue of what lies beyond. The Bible says it’s either Heaven or hell—and that way the Bible describes hell, it is definitely something to ‘worry’ about!

Ask most people if they’re going to Heaven and they’ll say, “I hope so” or “Maybe, if I’m good enough.”  If they are honest, they’ll admit that the thought of going to hell terrifies them. But Jesus has said that we can know beyond a shadow of doubt that we are on our way to Heaven: “Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in Heaven” [ Luke 6:23 ]. He also told us how: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life” [ John 6:47 ].

God the Father’s ‘requirements’ for Heaven were met for us by Jesus. He lived a perfect life, died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin, then rose from the dead as proof that God had accepted His sacrifice for us.


So, our ‘requirement’ is just to believe in Jesus: “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Once we put our trust in Jesus and what He did for us, we don’t have to ‘worry’ that we’ll lose our chance at Heaven when we sin. God has accepted us because of our relationship with Jesus: “I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand” [ John 10:28 ]. If we have put our trust in Jesus, eternity will be NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!


So, STOP WORRYING about everything, give it to God, and live in grace. Don’t ‘waste’ another day of your life worrying! Determine what your responsibility is and what it is not. Don’t try to take on God’s responsibility. When we do what we can do, God steps in and does what we can’t. So give yourself and your worries to God and begin enjoying the abundant life He has planned for you!

[ Excerpts from: RBC Ministries; Robert L. Leahy; Rosalind Ryan; Rev. David Roth; Ron Kessler, Ph.D.; Don Joseph Goeway; Joyce Meyer ]



Breaking the Worry Habit…Forever!: God’s Plan for Lasting Peace of Mind
By Elizabeth George

Tackling the growing problem of anxiety, Elizabeth George draws on the Bible and her personal experiences to help readers develop their trust in the Lord and take steps to keep worry and runaway fear in check. Going beyond the simple “just pray and give your troubles to the Lord,” Elizabeth acknowledges how hard it can be to “let go and let God.” She offers practical step-by-step advice to help readers… change their focus find the positive in negative situations understand what they can and can’t change know what to do when feeling overwhelmed develop proactive skills to head off anxiety understand that Christ is with them always Insightful discussion questions for each chapter will help readers apply the biblical principles and insights to their lives…and break their worry habit forever

The Worry Cure: Seven Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You
By Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D.

You wish you didn’t spend as much time worrying as you do, but you just can’t seem to help it. Worrying feels like second nature. It’s what helps you solve your problems and prevents you from making mistakes. It’s what motivates you to be prepared—if you didn’t worry, things might get out of hand. Worry protects you, prepares you, and keeps you safe.

Is it working? Or is it making you tense, tired, anxious, uncertain—and more worried?

For more than twenty-five years, Dr. Robert L. Leahy has successfully helped thousands of people defeat the worry that is holding them back. The Worry Cure is his new, comprehensive approach to help you identify, challenge, and overcome all types of worry, using the most recent research and his more than two decades of experience in treating patients.

This empowering seven-step program, including practical, easy-to-follow advice and techniques, will help you:

– Determine your “worry profile” and change your patterns of worry
– Identify productive and unproductive worry
– Take control of time and eliminate the sense of urgency that keeps you anxious
– Focus on new opportunities—not on your fear of failure
– Embrace uncertainty instead of searching for perfect solutions
– Stop the most common safety behaviors that you think make things better—but actually make things worse

Designed to address general worries as well as the unique issues surrounding some of the most common areas of worry—relationships, health, money, work, and the need for approval—The Worry Cure is for everyone, from the chronic worrier to the occasional ruminator. It’s time to stop thinking you’re “just a worrier” who can’t change and start using the groundbreaking methods in The Worry Cure to achieve the healthier, more successful life you deserve.

Getting Through the Tough Stuff: It’s Always Something!
By Charles Swindoll

We live in a time when things are tough for a lot of folks. The boomers are beginning to feel anxiety as they move toward retirement. Many people are facing financial pressure and are up to their ears in debt. We are having to care for both our kids and our parents. The pace of life, and the demands of life, just keep getting more intense. And for many, these tough times bring life crises. This is a book of encouragement, hope and freedom…an invitation to meet Christ at the crossroads of our lives and move beyond the tough times


[P.S.: If you would like to investigate what the Bible says about getting to Heaven, visit the following link:


LIFE’S DEEP THOUGHTS (v195) for MAY 2015
If you have a ‘neat’ story or some thoughts about an issue or current event that you would like me to try to respond to, I would be glad to give it a try…so, send them to me at:



Seven years old, you heard me cry
I don’t wanna say goodbye
To the only man that I love
My daddy and everything he was
I don’t think I can live without you
Dad, I know you’re breaking in two
With tears running down his face
He says we’re gonna make it
We’re gonna make it

When you feel like you are all alone
Just like your best friend up and gone
Don’t worry now
Don’t worry now
I’ve been there yeah, I know how it feels
To wonder if love is even real
Don’t worry now
Don’t worry now
It’s gonna be ok

I’ve been trying to find a way to understand
When I can’t see the picture of God’s plan
Why would He let us hurt so bad?
Could anything good come of these feelings that I have?
He loved me more than the sand on beaches
He loved me more than the grass is green
And even though he had to go
I always knew his love was part of me, yeah

When you feel like you are all alone
Just like your best friend up and gone
Don’t worry now
Don’t worry now
I’ve been there yeah, I know how it feels
To wonder if love is even real
Don’t worry now
Don’t worry now

It’s taken so long to let this go
It’s taken so long to feel that
You’re right here next to me
And I can finally breathe
It’s taken so long but now I know
I had to find out on my own
When nothing could convince me
Your love it convinced me
That it’s gonna be ok

When you feel like you are all alone
Just like your best friend up and gone
Don’t worry now
Don’t worry now
I’ve been there yeah, I know how it feels
To wonder if love is even real
Don’t worry now
Don’t worry now
Because it’s gonna be
Yeah, It’s gonna be ok

[ Britt Nicole – “Say It” album ]

What? Me Worry!?!
By Centre for Clinical Interventions

Mastering Your Worries: This “InfoPax” is designed to provide you with some information about chronic worrying and generalized anxiety disorder and suggested strategies for how you can manage your worrying and anxiety.  It is organized into modules that are designed to be worked through in sequence.  We recommend that you complete one module before going on to the next. Each module includes information, worksheets, and suggested exercises or activities.

Module 1: Overview of Generalized Anxiety
This module provides a general description of anxiety and looks at the symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder.
Module 2: Overview of Worrying
This module provides an overview of what worrying is, what triggers worrying, and what keeps it going.
Module 3: Negative Beliefs about Worrying (Part 1)
This module explores some negative beliefs you might have about worrying and discusses ways of changing such beliefs.  It focuses on one particular belief – that “Worrying is uncontrollable.”
Module 4: Negative Beliefs about Worrying (Part 2)
This module continues to challenge negative beliefs about worrying, in particular the belief “Worrying is dangerous.”
Module 5: Positive Beliefs about Worrying
This module explores and challenges positive beliefs about worrying.
Module 6: Challenging Worries
This module explores an active way of dealing with the specific worries you have by challenging head on.
Module 7: Letting Go of Worries
This module explores a different way of dealing with your specific worries. It describes the steps toward letting go of your worries.
Module 8: Accepting Uncertainty
This module aims to examine the need for certainty, look at how this keeps worrying going, describe ways of challenging this, and discuss how to ultimately accept uncertainty in life.
Module 9: Problem-Solving
Worrying and problem-solving are two very different things. This module describes some valuable strategies for being able to effectively solve problems that you encounter in your day-to-day life.
Module 10: Relaxation
This module describes how you can reduce your anxiety by gaining control of your breathing and learning relaxation techniques.
Module 11: Self Management
This final module describes how to maintain the gains and continue the progress you have made throughout the previous modules.

(Parody of “Stairway to Heaven” by Led Zeppelin)

There’s a way Jesus showed all us sinners must go
And He called it the narrow way to Heaven
If to get there’s your goal—with a pure heart and soul
In His Word you can get what you came for
Ooooooh and he described it right there in Matthew 7
There’ve been signs all along but you want to be sure
Cause the road sometimes swerves as you’re reading

In the free Bible book, there in John 3:16, come find how all our faults are forgiven
Two ways to ponder—two ways to ponder
There’s a freeway of death and it hooks to the left
And the steering and driving is easy
It is not quite as seems—see that smoke, feel the heat
Hear the voice of the Lord who stands knockin’
Ooooooh… it takes you under.  Ooooooh… it really takes you under

And it’s His Word that’s true — if we all follow through
Then the Bible will lead us to Jesus
And the true way will dawn—on those who’ve read John
Chapter 14 verse 6 and thereafter  Ooooooh…
If there’s a possible dead end road—don’t be a lost man
It’s best to think before you take it
Yes, there are two paths you can go by—but there’s a wrong one
But there’s still time to change the road you’re on
Ooooooh… can it take you up there?

You’re headed somewhere but it won’t go the place you wanna go
If Christ has called and you avoid Him
The way to Heaven’s very narrow, and did you know
It’s very wide on the way to Hell?  LEAD
Where will you wind up down the road — a shadow land or street of gold?
There is a Way that we all know — He shines bright light on words that show
How every man will turn to dust — but if you let Him in your heart
The Truth will come to you at last — and our Lord warned us where to go
And He was God — He ought to know
And He called it the narrow way to Heaven

[ ApologetiX – “Jesus Christ Morningstar” album ]


God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
enjoying one moment at a time;
accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
that I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
forever in the next.

[ Reinhold Niebuhr ]


“Worry is like advance payment made on a debt that never comes due.”
[ The Spanish Prisoner ]

“If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.”
[ Martin Luther King, Jr. ]

“I am not afraid of death, I just don’t want to be there when it happens.”
[ Woody Allen ]

“Death is the cure for all diseases.”
[ Thomas Browne ]

“For death is no more than a turning of us over from time to eternity.”
[ William Penn ]

“Worry is like a good rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”
[ Author unknown ]


Hope you enjoyed some of these insights—share them with your friends and colleagues—so we can have a larger ‘pool’ to receive from, and more to share with! Also, remember to include your name as the “source,” if some of this wisdom is of your doing—I would like to give credit where credit is due!

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
[ Philippians 4:6–9 ].



Disclaimer: All the above jokes & inspirations are obtained from various sources and copyright are used when known. Other than our name and headers, we do not own the copyright to any of the materials sent to this list. We just want to spread the ministry of God’s love and cheerfulness throughout the world.

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2 Responses to “The ‘Greatest’ Worry [v195]”

  1. Definitely ‘Scary’ | LIFE'S DEEP THOUGHTS Says:

    […] “The Greatest Worry”: […]


  2. ‘House’ Of Horrors | LIFE'S DEEP THOUGHTS Says:

    […] “The ‘Greatest’ Worry”: […]


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