The origins of the word worry:

Old English wyrgan “to strangle,” from Proto-Germanic *wurgjan (source also of Middle Dutch worghen, Dutch worgen, Old High German wurgen, German würgen “to strangle,” Old Norse virgill “rope”) http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=worry

That sounds about right to me. We all know plenty about why worrying and ruminating suck, so I won’t go into the details. Worrying is about what might happen, ruminating is obsessing about what has happened.

Anxiety gets a bad rap, but I think that we all need to have an anxious person on our team, or in our family. The worrier warrior gets shit done, we try to make things easier, we have emergency plans and backup plans, and you better believe we’ve done the research. Who do you want helping you with a major decision or project, the worrier or the blind optimist? The best outcomes happen when both kinds of thinking balance each other.

 

The origins of the word curiosity:

1275-1325; Middle English < Latin cūriōsus careful, inquisitive, equivalentto cūri- (combining form of cūra care) + -ōsus -ous. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/curious

Historically, anxiety is what has helped us survive. Being able to spot danger, avoid it, hide, or run from it kept our ancestors alive. We all know people who seem to have the anxiety dial turned way down, leading them into dangerous situations and even death.

Curiosity is considered a good thing, as it leads to creativity and knowledge. Notice that curious has also meant ” careful”. Could anxiety be an extreme form of curiosity?

Curiosity and anxiety ask the same questions:

  • What could happen?
  • What’s next?
  • What should I do?
  • What did that mean?
  • Why did that happen?

Both involve a very deep need to know, and a lot of questioning, the foundation of learning.

They differ because the answers we come up with when anxiety is on board are often not reasonable or true. They are not helpful.

I am curious, love to read and research, love to learn and use my imagination. All good things.  Except the more I know, the more there is to think about, and too much thinking can lead to…worrying. I am learning that it’s okay to have questions and worries as long as I don’t let them  keep me from living my life.

What do you think? I’d love to hear some comments (questions, too!) from other people.

 

 

 

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4 thoughts on “Curiosity and Worry

  1. Another well-written and interesting blog, Louise. I enjoy reading these and learn something about you, me, and other people in my life. I find that I can apply what you say to help understanding other people in my life or sometimes to initiate an interesting conversation which brings me new insights. Keep them coming!

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  2. Hmmm…curiosity is enlightening, exciting and opens doors; whereas, worry can be stifling. Too much of it can be invasive. You’re right, once again. A healthy dose of anxiety was necessary for survival; however, today we need a different level. We are no longer the same kind of hunter/gatherers as we once were. Too much worry can interfere with daily living. I like how you have connected the two concepts. Let’s be curious about our days – even our dilemmas – instead of worrying about them. Sit with them awhile and observe what happens. I think resolutions will be more forthcoming with curiosity and attention. And let’s be more gentle with ourselves while doing it. 🙂

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    1. Thanks Sonia. Good feedback. It’s a lifelong challenge to replace worry with other thoughts! Maybe I should just change the questions I’m asking myself. Thank you for following and reading my blog!

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