How able are you to not worry about things you can't control?

Or rather, to what extent are you able to not worry about things you can’t control?

For example, how well are you able to deal with possibilities like:

  • Disease and/or injury causing long-term medical needs or death.
  • A injury causing or fatal accident.
  • Random acts of violence and/or crime.
  • Natural disaster (whatever is appropriate to your area).
  • A major act of terrorism directly affecting you.
  • Apocalyptic Peak Oil/Food/Water.
  • A Western U.S. supervolcano erupting, wiping out the U.S. and changing the global environment too much for humanity to survive (hey, we’re overdue by thousands of years!). [You can consider this shorthand for “global catastrophe” - I just chose this because it’s “imminent” and “present” in a way that, say, a meteor strike or the sun going out is not.]

(I ask this way because some things push peoples’ buttons more so than others - some things are just more likely or “dealable” to people than others. One amusing thing that occurred to me as I was putting the above list together: the more personal it gets, the more likely it becomes.)

Are you able to deal with any of the above? Do certain ones strike at soft spots?

** Disease and/or injury causing long-term medical needs or death.

  • An injury causing or fatal accident.
  • Random acts of violence and/or crime.*
    These I give a bit of thought to, because I can have some influence over the likelihood of them.

** Natural disaster (whatever is appropriate to your area).*
In my area, it’s hurricanes, and though I could do a lot more to protect and prepare myself, I don’t. I’ve lived here all my life and the hurricanes haven’t got me yet, so I’ve stopped worrying.

** A major act of terrorism directly affecting you.

  • Apocalyptic Peak Oil/Food/Water.
  • Global catastrophe*
    I don’t worry at all.
  • Disease and/or injury causing long-term medical needs or death.

Well, I have a medical condition that could land me in the ER pretty much any time, but I can control the odds through my diet, so I think it’s fair to say I give this quite a bit of thought.

  • A injury causing or fatal accident.
  • Random acts of violence and/or crime.

A little, on occasion, but it’s no biggie.

  • Natural disaster (whatever is appropriate to your area).

We don’t have any. Seriously. It was a bit windy in January 2005 and people are still talking about it.

  • A major act of terrorism directly affecting you.
  • Apocalyptic Peak Oil/Food/Water.
  • A Western U.S. supervolcano erupting, wiping out the U.S. and changing the global environment too much for humanity to survive (hey, we’re overdue by thousands of years!). [You can consider this shorthand for “global catastrophe” - I just chose this because it’s “imminent” and “present” in a way that, say, a meteor strike or the sun going out is not.]

I don’t think of any of these at all. I’m thoroughly confident that the world will plod along much as it always has. Intellectually, I’m aware that many people have thought so before me and been proven wrong to a greater or lesser degree, but that knowledge doesn’t reach my core.

In short, I’m not a worrier.

It’s biology and upbringing, I guess. I don’t worry about anything. My wife worries about everything. :wink:

Why should I let those types of things live in my head without them paying rent? :confused:

I’ve enough to think about, with the things I do have some power over.

I don’t worry about any of those except Peak Oil, which I think is highly probable and not taken seriously enough, so that eventually the world can change into a radically different place (not in a good way) before I die of old age. This worries me for both myself and my family.

I also worry about dying in planes. Flying is a big part of my job, and every now and then when I’m in the air I get this huge fear, sort of a TWA 800 scenario, or the wings ripping off. I know the odds, but I also know how old these planes are, and how many things can go wrong. The thought of having those few seconds or minutes to contemplate your totally unavoidable death in such a violent way freaks me out a bit.

I don’t actively worry about anything outside my control. In fact, if I am worrying over something, I can usually analyse it, and if is out of my control I will stop worrying. I do have occasional irrational paranoid fears, but these are easily got over.

I’m a worrier. With things outside of my control, I try to offer it up to God. Yeah, I’m one of those weirdo Christian types. Last winter when my sister was about twelve weeks pregnant, bleeding heavily, and having bad cramps there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. It scared the snot out of me. What really helped was the simple act of saying out loud, “God, I place my worry in your hands. I know there isn’t anything I can do about Amy and her baby, but I trust you have a plan. Please accept my tears as an offering for the baby. Let each tear be a prayer.” Whenever I get stressed out over something I can’t control like that, I say a similar prayer. I don’t suppose that helps the atheists out there, but it’s my way of coping.

My 50+ years of living have taught me that it is never, ever, the things that you worry about, think through, devise coping methods for, that get you.

Life doesn’t seem to work that way. It’s always things you could not have possibly seen coming. Think about how often after trauma, people remark, “I could never have imagined…”. That’s it exactly, you couldn’t have imagined.

I have tried to live my life in such a way as to have no regrets. But the if I was forced to find one, it would be a regret for all the time and energy I wasted worrying about things I couldn’t control and would never actually happen. If I could go back, I’d take back that time, and live a little more carefree.

Disasters will come, surprises await, shocking turns of events happen, worrying about the shape and form of such things is foolish wasted time and anguish. Engage your brain to ‘be prepared’, take precautions, do not take foolish risks, etc, but learn to let go of worry about things you can neither predict or control.

One of the most important lessons I learned in life was this; you prepare for school exams and dinner parties, you don’t ‘prepare’ for life, you live life, as it comes, fast and unpredictable. Just enjoy the ride!

I am currently very stressed about some things I cannot control (we are in the middle of selling our house and are waiting for all the inspections etc to be done). I dunno if stress is the same thing to you as worry–I cannot affect the outcome of those inspections but the waiting is very difficult for me.

So much as MissMossie said, my prayer is along the lines of “please help me be OK where I am right now.” I really despise wish list sorts of prayers (I want this, and this, and this etc) because I don’t believe God is a Santa Claus figure at all. Instead I’m praying for His help in being OK and content where I am right now.

Painful atm though. I’d love to be the Evil Overlord mentioned in another thread, heads would ROLL, I tell ya!

I prepare as much as possible and then I don’t think about it anymore. Disease or injury? I have health insurance and disability insurance to protect myself in the event of something like that.

A fatal accident? Well, I don’t have a spouse or children so I guess it wouldn’t effect anyone directly. My friends and family would be sad but as long as someone fed my kitties and found them a good home that would be my biggest concern there. I don’t have a legal will but I did write out a request of who I would like to bequeath a few things to and everything else can be divided up however they like. I also left a list of my computer passwords so that someone could close down my accounts (and let the Dope know I had passed away. :wink: )

Random acts of violence or crime? I try to stick to well lit areas and travel with other people if I am out and about late at night. I have a deadbolt and a chain lock on my door. Otherwise there isn’t a whole lot I can do to prevent it.

Natural disaster or act of terrorism? I make sure not to let my food supply at home get too low and I have candles and matches available as well as bottles of water in my freezer. I would have all of these things anyway but it is nice to have them as a back-up supply in case I need it.

Apocalyptic Peak Oil/Food/Water? If this were to happen with oil I really wouldn’t worry too much. We as a society would figure out how to cope pretty quickly. The food would worry me a bit and the water would worry me a lot, but the odds against it are so small that I don’t concern myself with it.

US Super Volcano? Meh. If it happens I’ve got at most 2 hours of unpleasantness followed by a quick, lava-filled death. There are much slower, much more unpleasant ways to die.

Basically I just take basic precautions and save my worry for things I can actually do something about.

I have an anxiety disorder. 'Nuff said. :wink: (Actually, I don’t spend much time thinking about natural disasters, etc. Mostly financial disasters.)

Honestly, I never worry about any of that stuff. I am kind of a worry-free person. I don’t know how I do it, it just seems like too much effort I guess, to spend all that energy on things that most likely will never happen. And if they do happen, I figure I’ll deal with it then.

Although, since taking Property Law, I do have a horror of dying intestate. I need to write a will.

I worry damn near constantly about my husband and kids, to the point where my nightmares have gone from “being chased by cool-looking monsters” to much worse things, like “cross-country anarchy in which armed looters take my family hostage and execute them after a short amount of time.” I have stressed myself out to the point of physical illness over these kinds of things before, so I’ve had to find ways to distract myself from thinking about it too much.

As for me, I’m pretty much unafraid of anything happening to me. I try to be cautious (drive responsibly, don’t swim during thunderstorms, and all that) but I don’t ever really worry about me. Most people who know this about me think I’m pretty nutso - how can you worry about them but not you? - but to me it’s normal, cause that’s just what I’m used to.

I am a worrier. I think I get it from my grandmother, who, in my grandfather’s words, “would worry if the sun was going to come up in the morning, then worry if it was going to go down at night.”

I try to control it though, generally by cutting the thoughts off as soon as I recognize them. I usually just say, “I am not going to think about it.” It doesn’t always work though.

Don’t worry. Be happy. Extra points if sung by Big Mouth Billy Bass.

If I can have any control over it - I take control over it.

If I can’t have any control over it I leave it alone.

  • Disease and/or injury causing long-term medical needs or death.

  • A injury causing or fatal accident.
    A little - My family has no other income, and I do some relatively high risk things like cut my own firewood + do my own construction.

  • Random acts of violence and/or crime.
    Nope, this is Vermont. Almost everyone is armed, and there’s almost no crime.

  • Natural disaster (whatever is appropriate to your area).
    I’m prepared for about twice the time I’m likely to be snowed in, out of power, or have no way out. The road I live on washed out completely 4 days ago. They’re still trying to get to 4 houses that have no access. They claim we’ll have 2 lanes by mid-late July. No worries.

  • A major act of terrorism directly affecting you.

  • Apocalyptic Peak Oil/Food/Water.

  • “global catastrophe”
    What, me worry?

Everything listed in the OP is very easy for me to dismiss. So esy I don’t even worry about them at all.

But I find it hard to not worry about my kids…but only when there’s some tough decision making going on.

I pretty much worry about all of the above, except terrorist attacks. I have a chronic anxiety disorder (ok, more than one…) and I used to worry terribly about things I couldn’t control, everything from failing grades to Armageddon to being conscious and paralyzed during major surgery (it’s happened, dammit!) I would give myself panic attacks and spend many sleepless nights agonizing over these things. It got to the point where I couldn’t even hear a plane flying overhead without panicking and thinking it was going to crash into the building I was in. I was a freaking wreck, if you want to know the truth, jumping at every little sound.

I guess I just got sick of it eventually. I had a lot of anxiety going back to school after a long break, and my new professor terrified me, but I had no choice but to keep going, and soon I was sitting in class just to spite her. Avoiding anxiety was now the lowest priority, graduating college the highest–then I did some world travel, despite all the anxieties I had about that. It’s kind of weird, but becoming more engaged with life, learning to exert power over the things I could control, somehow made me accept the things I couldn’t control. I found myself taking more risks. I trained myself, slowly but surely, to make rational decisions based not on fear but on risk-benefit analysis. I knew that anxiety-ruled phase of my life was over when I found myself in the back of a cargo truck in rural Mexico, standing on the side railings with a bunch of teenage boys and their band instruments while the driver careened through the mountains at dusk. No way IN HELL I would have done that in a past life! I was very aware of the risk involved, but missing out on that moment seemed like a greater tragedy.

I have occasional flare-ups, I am not exactly anxiety-free. But the anxiety seems to revolve around things that would normally freak people out – new jobs, moving, applying to grad school. This anxiety may manifest itself in seemingly unrelated ways (staying up at night worrying about a break-in) but it’s still pretty obvious I just have a surplus of anxiety trying to creatively express itself. So I really don’t sweat it that much anymore.

My ultimate conclusion is that worry is a big waste of time, unless it’s motivating you to change something within your control.