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Worrying and Still Happy?

Last updated: June 2022

You may have noticed the future comes at us one day at a time. Given that fact, it might be reasonable to presume that if everything is okay today, we should have no real concerns about tomorrow or perhaps the next day. We know, or should know, that worry causes stress, and ongoing stress is not a good thing. Continued high stress levels can play havoc with our physical and mental health.

And for fun, just ask yourself, how often have we all heard someone say "worrying about something that may or may not happen is a waste of time." That is great advice that few of us follow.

When the unexpected happens

So here I am not wasting time worrying about possible problems. Then the unexpected happened. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Wow, where did that come from? Time to go back to square one so I  continue not worrying.

Next comes a diagnosis of non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. What is going on here? No matter how long I refuse to worry, this nasty stuff keeps happening. If prostate and blood cancer were not enough, I was getting older, grayer, and balder every day.

Yikes, is it possible that not worrying about stuff was creating some real issues? Okay, if not worrying was causing issues and worrying causes stress, what options are left?

Can worry and fear can be beneficial?

Humans can imagine a future and anticipate things that might happen. Without much effort, we can easily imagine either a disastrous or a positive outcome. For a moment, think about how easy it is to be positive at the thought of winning a multi-million-dollar lottery. On the other hand, if we get bad news, we can easily envision a negative outcome. The resulting imagined future can be so real and pervasive it can impact many aspects of our lives.

Let's stop for a moment and ask: can worry and fear can be beneficial? And if so, how can it be good for you? Perhaps worrying may motivate you to go in for a PSA test. A bit more worry may prompt you to take some action.

Only time will tell

I hosted a ZOOM meeting with 4 men who were looking at various options for their recently-diagnosed prostate cancer. Three of the men were considering if surgery or radiation was the best option. The other was considering holding off for while to see how things might evolve. Each had a similar diagnosis, and each had a different take on what may be the best course of action.

How did the call end? Once a decision is made, there are no do-overs. We agreed it was impossible to predict the future. Only time will tell if the best decision was made. As the call ended, I asked each man to write down how they made a decision and put the document in a secure place so they could refer to it in the future.

In life when all is said and done, perhaps the best choice might be to live life to the fullest and remember to bring along a good dose of awareness.

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