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    I'd like to hear from people: has worrying ever helped you or anyone else you know?

    I doubt that it has. I know worrying never worked for me. Generally speaking, the stuff I worried about never happened, which could have been part of the problem. I came to think the worry was warding it off. "Good thing I worried, see? It never happened." But no -- stuff happens whether you worry about it or not. Worry just extends the suffering. Still, people insist that if you worry about things, it's going to help.

    How? Well, at the very least, worrying proves you're a good person, right? It means that you care, that you're concerned, that you want things to go well for yourself and others. The suffering proves that you want that very badly.

    Personally, I think worry is a sign of being very confused. It may even qualify as a mental illness. I think the Surgeon General should let everyone know that worrying is right up there with smoking cigarettes as a life-killer and waste of time. Billboards would be a good start: "Don't worry. It won't help."

    People sit with me in my office every day and share the things they're worried about: their kid's future, aging, the economy, their jobs, the planet. Most of the things people worry about turn out to be things they have no control over. Maybe that's why they worry -- it gives then the sense that maybe they somehow do have some control.

    Some folks are too cool to admit they're worried. Those people are "concerned." Concerned citizens.

    I say try worrying less. Start by being honest with yourself. If you have control over something, then exercise that control by being responsible. If you don't have control, stop confusing yourself by believing it's your responsibility. No ability, no responsibility.

    It is important to understand that it is possible, and a very good idea, to learn to stop worrying. With a little practice you could have real peace of mind, no matter what your circumstances, no matter what situation you're in. Now, wouldn't that be nice?


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