Anxiety and Worry Chime In

Running Scared Chapter Four Anxiety and Worry Chime In In chapter four, Welch’s goal is to expand the discussion beyond particular fears to the more general outlook of worry. At the end of the chapter he quotes Freud to demonstrate the significance of worry as a window to the soul: “There is no question that the problem of anxiety is a nodal point at which the most various and important questions converge, a riddle whose solution would be bound to throw a flood of light on our whole mental existence.” The author’s approach is the same: examining the experience of worry will be more profitable than attempting to dismiss it. His first observation is that “worriers live in the future.” By this, he means that fear perceives present danger, while worry or anxiety is preoccupied with what may be ahead. But worriers are always wrong according to Welch; at least in the specifics: “Advanced worriers worry about everything, and if you worry about everything you will occasionally stumble upon an approximation to a a real event. Worry that someone you love will be in a car accident, and worry about that everyday—every hour—for a decade, and someday you might get a call fro9m a friend who needs a ride because her car battery went dead. This event will then justify every worry you ever had” (p.51). Welch wants us to see this pessimistic vision casting in a different light. He refers to Deuteronomy 18:22 and the notoriously strict standard from the OldTestament on prophets. Miss once, and the prophet’s career was over. “Using this standard, worriers are certifiable false prophets” (p.52). What value do we find in worrying? The author suggests these: • If I imagine the worst, I will be more prepared for it? • It expresses a deep sense of aloneness and helplessness. • It gets attention. Welch acknowledges that worriers are immune to reason and that simply renaming them false prophets will not provide the cure. These may slow us down enough, however to prompt some introspection. What does the worry say about me rather than the circumstances? What am I trusting? What about this poor track record I have for dire predictions? My own journey I’m certainly capable of worry, but I don’t think it characterizes me. Welch’s description of someone worrying about a car wreck, and then having that worry “confirmed” by a friend’s dead battery aptly describes how I have perceived chronic worriers, not how I feel myself. Still, his allusion to worry as a kind of false prophecy is will be helpful to me. The “worst case scenario” happens, I suppose, to someone. But there’s no faith or even real foresight in expecting it to happen to me. Discussion Does the idea that fear is a present thing while worry operates in the future make fear more legitimate than worry? Why or why not? Why are worriers immune to reason? Evaluate the three “values” in worrying.

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