Worrying is a waste of time, and you should do everything possible to stop. Don’t worry, just be concerned.
What is the difference? Below are the definitions we will use in the context of this article:
Why to Stop Being Worried
To worry is to get your heart rate up, to sweat, to pace, to be stressed. None of the symptoms of worrying will help you solve your problems.
Potential Problems: There is no reason to spend any time being stressed about potential problems. These problems may never even occur. There are an infinite amount of things you could spend time being worried about—asteroid impacts, car accidents, hurricanes, nuclear disasters, and so on. If you are worried about every possible future scenario, fear and neurosis will dominate your life.
Actual Problems: You will do a disservice to yourself and others if you allow your actual problems to overwhelm you. Worrying does not lead to calm and rational decisions. Worry leads to paralysis, fear, stress, and irrational decisions.
Eliminating worry is challenging, but it is critical to your long-term happiness. In my article, Stress is Optional, I explain a framework for eliminating stress and worry.
Why to Start Being Concerned
To be concerned is to thoughtfully consider the possible risks and consequences of your actions. While being concerned, you should dispassionately look at your problems and systematically take the steps needed to solve them.
Potential Problems: Only concern yourself with potential problems you can influence. Don't concern yourself with potential problems where the consequences and likelihood are low. If the consequences and likelihood are high, do whatever you can to mitigate the risk, and move on.
Actual Problems: Don’t let fear dictate your actions. Instead, let your challenges fuel your focus and sharpen your mind. Approach your problems calmly and rationally. Take a deep breath, assess the situation, and take actions that move things in the right direction.
The next time you are becoming overwhelmed with worry and anxiety, pause, and re-frame your attitude toward your problems. Remove the word “worry” from your vocabulary. The words we use to define our situations strongly influence our perception. Instead, approach your challenges with a well-calibrated sense of concern.