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Old 04-24-2013, 12:31 PM   #1
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Worry

My mother used to tell the story of the day she found me (age 5) in my bedroom crying my heart out.
"What's the matter, Bobby?"
"I don't have anything to worry about".

So the subject is Worry. How it drives our actions, and affects our lives... Recognizing worry for what it is and what we can do to use it in a positive way versus the negatives of Toxic Worry.

Wiki has an interesting article Worry - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia that begins this way:

Quote:
Worry is thoughts, images and emotions of a negative nature in which mental attempts are made to avoid anticipated potential threats. As an emotion it is experienced as anxiety or concern about a real or imagined issue, usually personal issues such as health or finances or broader ones such as environmental pollution and social or technological change. Most people experience short-lived periods of worry in their lives without incident; indeed, a moderate amount of worrying may even have positive effects, if it prompts people to take precautions (e.g., fastening their seat belt or buying fire insurance) or avoid risky behaviours (e.g., angering dangerous animals, or binge drinking).
Further on...
Quote:
Dr. Edward Hallowell, psychiatrist and author of Worry, argues that while "Worry serves a productive function", "anticipatory and dangerous" worrying—which he calls "toxic worry"--can be harmful for your mental and physical health. He claims that "Toxic worry is when the worry paralyzes you," whereas "Good worry leads to constructive action" such as taking steps to resolve the issue that is causing concern. To combat worry, Hallowell suggests that people should not worry alone, because people are much more likely to come up with solutions when talking about their concerns with a friend.
.................................................. .................................................

The openness of discussion here on ER often reflects some of the psychology of worry... in particular, the sharing of concerns and the search for solutions. While this may be an esoteric subject, recognizing the difference between productive and non productive worry may be a factor in successful retirement.

The sudden shift of responsibilities from the obligations of the corporate world, to the personal freedom of retirement , can leave a gap in the thought processes that need be recognized, and dealt with.
.................................................. ..................................................
So... an observation... a refinement of Parkinson's Law.
"Worry expands to fill the time allocated to its completion".

.................................................. .................................................
So, wondering...
-Does retirement relieve worry or just shift concerns to other parts of life?
-Do things that used to be compartmentalized and dealt with as a small part of your life, now expand to take up much more time and effort?
-Are your decisions now more carefully crafted?
-Do small concerns now become more important?
-Do you think more about personal issues, or look at wider, more broad worries such as the economy, the environment, or social change?
-Do worries affect your sleeping habits?

Perhaps not a good subject for discussion but just some passing thoughts after a bad night's sleep brought on by overeating at dinner.
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:08 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu View Post
So, wondering...
-Does retirement relieve worry or just shift concerns to other parts of life?
I don't worry any more. There isn't any percentage in it (as the saying goes). I am happy and living the best years of my life. I guess the only thing that I have worried/fussed about since ER was when the colonoscopy lab charged me twice my deductible. That upset me so much that after I tried everything else I could think of, spent hours on the phone and writing letters, but then I finally paid it just so that I could forget about it! Then out of the blue, a couple of months later they finally figured it out and refunded what was owed me.

That taught me a lesson: It just wasn't WORTH it to worry. I learned to just take life as it comes, if I can, and stop being so high strung.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu
-Do things that used to be compartmentalized and dealt with as a small part of your life, now expand to take up much more time and effort?
Sure, fun things. But not worrisome things.
Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu
-Are your decisions now more carefully crafted?
I have always been careful with my decisions.
Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu
-Do small concerns now become more important?
Not really.
Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu
-Do you think more about personal issues, or look at wider, more broad worries such as the economy, the environment, or social change?
At my age (mid sixties) I think it is stupid to worry about things I can't change, like the economy, environment, or social change. With age comes wisdom, they say, and that includes not tilting against windmills any more, I suppose. I am enjoying retirement and will leave those things for the 30-year-olds to fuss over and worry about.
Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu
-Do worries affect your sleeping habits?
I sleep like an effing ROCK. My Fitbit activity monitor says I sleep with 96%+ efficiency for 7.5 hours each night. I also take delicious, delightful naps. No, nothing interferes with my sleeping habits. Again, I feel that would be stupid at this point in life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by imoldernu
Perhaps not a good subject for discussion but just some passing thoughts after a bad night's sleep brought on by overeating at dinner.
Sounds to me like the problem is not worry, but just being more careful about what and how much you eat at dinnertime. I have had the same happen to me. Also last Thursday night I didn't sleep because I threw my back out. But this has not caused me any worry. Instead, I have been resting my back. Slept really well last night, too, catching up on that lost sleep, still.
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:09 PM   #3
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Worry is hard to avoid, and it's not *always* unhealthy (if it drives you to make positive changes within your control). But when it becomes obsessive and when it consumes you over things you can't control, it becomes toxic.
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:24 PM   #4
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OMG ImOlderNU - you've read my mind !!!! I've actually been worried if I will shift my worries to other things ! Right now my ONLY worry is being able to sell my house so I can downsize and running out of money in ER. The first is temporary and is keeping me awake at night. I've always been a worrier so I do worry about the second become all consuming (I'd laugh at that sentence if it weren't so true !). As you can see, I'm actually worried about being worried in the future --- double toxicity !

This forum is one of the places where I know I can get reasonable input about the validity of my worries, so I do think that this will serve as a great outlet for my concerns.
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:26 PM   #5
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I don't worry often, like W2R I finally realized there's no point - worrying itself accomplishes what (nothing IMO)? Sure I catch myself worrying occasionally, less often with each passing year, but I almost always realize it quickly and snap out of it. Even if something awful happens, I know worrying doesn't help, if anything it makes the situation worse.

I also tend to address issues ASAP, always have. That helps curtail worrying. When I was still working, peers would put off issues and fret about it. I often did the most distasteful tasks first to get them over with. Putting things off, avoiding issues, probably makes time spent worrying more likely. Spiritual training has been helpful in this.

I don't relate it to retirement as the OP seems to ask, making things better or worse, I relate learning to skip worrying to age and "wisdom."

There's no changing the past, learn and move on. No need to worry about the present, just do it. And I'd rather spend time preparing for what comes, instead of using time to worry. I'd rather act, be procactive, than waste time worrying - so that's what I try to do...
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:33 PM   #6
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Worry is great for prevention, lousy as a cure.
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Old 04-24-2013, 01:37 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by heeyy_joe View Post
Worry is great for prevention, lousy as a cure.
I'm printing that one up and hanging it on the wall !
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:12 PM   #8
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I don't need to answer the questions individually, W2R did it for me. The only worry issue I have that wasn't mentioned is my kids. They are both doing fine but still I worry. Nothing new about that in ER.
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Old 04-24-2013, 02:16 PM   #9
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My mother used to say, "I worried about not having any shoes until I met the person that had no feet". Positive worry which results in creative solutions is my goal. Worrying about what can't be changed is a waste of time. I am more petty or "set in my ways" as I get older........but, I realize that this is a fact of aging and I try to be nicer to offset my old age grumpiness.
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Old 04-24-2013, 03:01 PM   #10
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I don't worry any more. There isn't any percentage in it (as the saying goes). I am happy and living the best years of my life. ...... It just wasn't WORTH it to worry. ......... Couldn't have said it any better!

At my age (mid sixties) I think it is stupid to worry about things I can't change, like the economy, environment, or social change. With age comes wisdom, they say, and that includes not tilting against windmills any more, I suppose. I am enjoying retirement and will leave those things for the 30-year-olds to fuss over and worry about. Exactly! Most of the real problems surfacing today will probably not effect me as I'll be dead or senile by the time the SHTF so why should I give myself a heart attack or ulcer over these things. I don't have any children so I don't have that part of it to be concerned about. I pity those that are in their 40's or younger for they will pay the price for the stupidity of today.

And as an aside I've always said if worrying could change "this problem" then I'd worry about it but since it can't I seldom ever worried about things beyond my control, well almost never.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:26 PM   #11
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I suscribe to the worry box theory. Each of us has a worry box that will only fit so many worries. When a greater worry is resolved, it's space is taken with a lesser worry. This way, you always have something to worry about.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:39 PM   #12
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I'm a little neurotic, so I'll get stuck on a worry from time to time. Invariably it is something stressful coming up at work. For instance, I got deposed for the first time, a couple months ago. I worried about that for about a month in advance. A complete waste of time, but I couldn't help it. Such is the nature of neurotic worry. If you can turn it off, it's really not a problem. It's a problem when it keeps coming back into your mind regardless of how often you tell yourself it's okay, don't worry about it, worrying doesn't do any good, etc.

Things that help me: reminding myself of where I have no control, talking to a friend about it, distracting myself, doing whatever preparation I can, prayer, exercise, getting out in nature, taking myself/world less seriously, and trying not to exaggerate the importance of whatever I'm fretting about.
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:46 PM   #13
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Okay, somebody had to post this:



As I've got older, I find that I tend to worry a lot more about other people (DW, DDs etc) than about myself. I've been around long enough to know that most of the bad things that could affect me never eventuate.
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Old 04-25-2013, 04:02 AM   #14
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I'm a planner by nature, and I think planners are inherent worriers. We're always looking ahead and anticipating what will happen, what obstacles will get in the way, plan B, etc. I come from a long line of worriers and a few mental breakdowns as a result in the family tree. It has been a life long struggle to avoid worry. I've found that compartmentalizing works, and I can be good at that. For example, the second I leave work I forget about it and absorb myself in the next activity. Lots of exercise helps, and prayer for a higher vision helps too!
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Old 04-25-2013, 06:56 AM   #15
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I'm a planner by nature, and I think planners are inherent worriers. We're always looking ahead and anticipating what will happen, what obstacles will get in the way, plan B, etc. I come from a long line of worriers and a few mental breakdowns as a result in the family tree. It has been a life long struggle to avoid worry. I've found that compartmentalizing works, and I can be good at that. For example, the second I leave work I forget about it and absorb myself in the next activity. Lots of exercise helps, and prayer for a higher vision helps too!
Boy, you are right! I excercise every morning, walking on a treadmill, and always finish my routine in a better mood than when I started. I really believe excercise is as good as any pill when you feel a little depressed.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:05 AM   #16
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The older the get the less I worry. For me worrying is dangerous when it causes you to freeze and not determine what action. Since my teens I've been somewhat of a "what's the worst that can happen?" type of person. With experience I've learned what I can control and what I cannot. So I plan and take actions on the things I can control, and have peace about the things I cannot.

What worries I have are definitely more about others than myself. But rather than getting consumed with I use the "starfishes on a beach" analogy, and that also brings peace.
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Old 04-25-2013, 12:54 PM   #17
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I'm a planner by nature, and I think planners are inherent worriers. We're always looking ahead and anticipating what will happen, what obstacles will get in the way, plan B, etc. ...
This sounds a lot like me and also others on this forum.

I'm not sure how people who answered that they've stopped worrying are defining "worry". Maybe we need a worry scale:

10 - I cannot sleep at night and frequently ruminate on issues.
7 - Sometimes I think the issues will blow up on me. I'm angry and upset.
5 - The issues might be a problem for me and it bothers me but I still sleep well.
3 - Possible worry but probably will get solved.
1 - Alfred E. Neuman approach "What me worry?".

I don't think planners can reach the Alfred E. Neuman level.
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Old 04-25-2013, 01:29 PM   #18
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This sounds a lot like me and also others on this forum.

I'm not sure how people who answered that they've stopped worrying are defining "worry". Maybe we need a worry scale:

10 - I cannot sleep at night and frequently ruminate on issues.
7 - Sometimes I think the issues will blow up on me. I'm angry and upset.
5 - The issues might be a problem for me and it bothers me but I still sleep well.
3 - Possible worry but probably will get solved.
1 - Alfred E. Neuman approach "What me worry?".

I don't think planners can reach the Alfred E. Neuman level.
I still plan, every day! But I don't worry while I plan. Actually, I look forward to it and enjoy it a lot, because I like to see my plans realized.
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:01 PM   #19
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I have a little time on my hands, so will take it to reminisce on a business enterprise that my BIL and I created, way back before the internet... in 1975.

The National Worry Bureau

Some bits and pieces of the "plan".

National Worry Bureau - "We'll take care of your worries, by worrying for you."
"Be worry-free for FREE!"

Membership allows you to present 3 major "worries" to our NWB professional worriers, who who take on the burdens and worry for you.

No worry too great for us to handle. War, Environment (yeah... even then), Nuclear accidents, Stock Market

An ever growing list of worries being handled for all members.

Each MLM new member recruit allows one additional worry relief.

Don't worry about Membership fees... we'll worry about that.

In lieu of MLM activity, members may join the worriers, working their way up to different levels of professional worrying.

Worries are unlimited... Money, Marital, Health, IRS, Legal Issues etc. with particularly worrisome issues being handled by more than one professional.

Worry submission can be by mail or phone (automatic answering service to take message).

An automatic updated phone message with daily lists of most recent worries that the NWB is handling so that members can be worry free.

National and regional conventions with special awards for those the most successful worry free - care free stories.

Chain letter communication to all members for centralized control and information.

We had a 20 page business plan, which I have sadly misplaced. The Bureau was based on the multi level marketing model, with free membership and only income provided through the sale of the NWB logo products... Tee Shirts, Jewelry, etc, and possibly small fees for direct and personal professional responders who can handle the most urgent worries with one-on-one attention.

(we investigated the A. E. Neumann trademark, but the copyright was solid, and we decided against it, creating our own logo, which I can't locate.)

Ah me... just one of many dozen entrepreneurial projects that we developed.

Some day, will reprise the plan of careening and repairing boats on the outer coast of Cape Cod...

Hmmm.. if you're so smart, how come you're not rich?
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Old 04-25-2013, 02:12 PM   #20
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Stress at work used to manifest itself by my sweating (forehead and armpits). I was very self conscious about it. Once I retired it completely went away.
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