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Why We Worry – Nerdful Mind #87

September 12, 2021 by Simon Mannes

What is your no. 1 worry?

The top worries I have are social, financial, and about health.

And that makes a lot of sense if viewed from an evolutionary perspective.

  • If my social worries come true, I may get kicked out of the tribe and die alone, or lose my chance to pass on my genes.
  • If I lose access to resources, I starve and eventually die.
  • And if I lose my health (or a loved one loses theirs), life gets much harder.

The thing is, in our modern society (at least in developed countries), getting kicked out of a tribe doesn't equal death. It'll probably even help you move on and find a social circle that accepts you. And with modern medicine, even death has a harder time.

Many of the things we worry about are not as drastic as they seem. We may see them, and fear them, but either they're much less probable than we think they are, or their consequences aren't as harsh as we believe.

Two questions help me worry less:

  • Is this in my control? If yes, I can do something better than to worry. If no, worrying has no use.
  • What's the worst that could happen? Often when I really think things through, the worst outcome is not nearly as bad as I believed.
“If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.”— E. Joseph Cossman

Reading Recommendations

Why Loving-Kindness Takes Time: Sharon Salzberg

“It's only after we've practiced many times that we'll begin to notice a habit developing—namely, letting ourselves off the hook once in awhile.#

The Evolution of Anxiety: Why We Worry and What to Do About It

“Many aspects of modern society are designed to delay rewards until some point in the future. This is true of our problems as well. While a giraffe is worried about immediate problems like avoiding lions and seeking shelter from a storm, many of the problems humans worry about are problems of the future.”

Failure on demand – Scenes from an agile transformation

“Agile has become an overused term. In this article, we look at agile from the perspective of corporate culture. A healthy agile culture has to be lived by employees and their superiors (who act as role models). The transformation to it is laborious, because old structures and behaviors need to be broken up.”

Weekly Mindfulness Practice

A three-step mindfulness exercise check-in with your body:

Step 1: ask yourself what you are doing in the current moment. What are you hearing, seeing, and feeling?

Step 2: breathe consciously for 6-8 breaths.

Step 3: expand your awareness outwards. First include your body and then your surroundings.

End Note

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Have a great week


PS: What do you think about this? Please hit reply and let me know. I'm curious!