Why Worry?

Do you remember a period in your life when everything was ok? Everything seemed to be working well, the dust of maybe a previous disturbance was settling down and life was fairly good. And precisely than you started to worry? Did you wake up in the night thinking about ‘the future?’ Did your eye catch that dreadful piece on the news that predicted a real thread?  This may seem strange and very contra productive to our own happiness, so why does it happen?


The need to worry may be a signal that somewhere in the past we underwent something properly worrying and sad and we haven’t properly unpacked that in the present time. Before we were the fully functioning adult that we are now, something happened that triggered a kind of alarm in our psyche and we aren’t able to soften that alarm. So we react in a panicky state. The circumstances of our lives changed, we learned things and yet still, just sometimes, that frantic child reacts.


The original trauma is well tucked away or forgotten if you will and the reactions find other ‘smaller’ or ‘more insignificant’ events to hold on to. There is no logic anymore in what to worry about, you are capable now to worry about everything. Maybe a loss in your past cannot be addressed but your mind uses the mechanism to deal with it, only it is scattered now across hundreds of shifting topics in the present[1].   I can type up a very long list of topics I am able to worry about but I think you can imagine for yourself.


Can we gently tell our worries that they are wrong? Can we tuck them away next to the trauma, neglect, loss, abuse or humiliation we suffered? We can try to shift our views of the ‘small worries’. They are small threads leading you to that particular trauma. In fact it is helping you to find your way back to the feeling or event causing the state of worry or panic. I see them  as Ariadne’s thread[2]. Ariadne helped Thesaus kill the Minotaur by giving him a sword and a ball of thread. The Minotaur was offered 7 young men and 7 maidens every 7 years which sorrowed the people of Athens. With the sword he killed the Minotaur and with the thread he could find his way out of the labyrinth where the Minotaur lived.




Why the worries of today hold such a strong power over us is explained by psychoanalyst Donald  Winnicott: ‘the catastrophe we think will happen has in fact already happened’. [3]


We need to follow the thread and go back to the original event or source of worry. Not with one bungee jump into the past but step by step. The fact that our ‘smaller’ worries are present in the past, is a sign that we’ll eventually need to address other things. The worries in the present do not affect the worries of the past. We are able to worry less and not to react as the child that makes a surprise appearance in the present. We can be more mature and therefore find more happiness and better our self-esteem. We can grow from our worries.



I found that my post has an follow up thread, Dwight Hyde from Faded Jeans Living wrote an inspiring post that involves the story of the Minotaur related to creativity. A recommended read! Click here




[1] https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/on-needing-to-find-something-to-worry-about/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ariadne

[3] Alain de Botton, On Needing to Find Something to Worry About, (2019). Online source.

Picture: By Evelyn De Morgan – 1. mezzo-mondo.com 2. ArtDaily.org 3. The De Morgan Foundation, Public Domain.


13 thoughts on “Why Worry?

      1. When you get the answers, you will definitely say to yourself like “it isn’t that hard as I thought” because every problem looks just like that, when it ends.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. This is so interesting. In just two days I’ve read the reference to Ariadne and the thread. Once here and another in a book I’m reading Callings Finding and Following an Authentic Life by Gregg Levoy. I’m getting more in tune and watching more and paying attention. This is indeed a sign for me to explore more. Thank you😊

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  2. That’s a good point, to take things in small steps and not in one giant plunge. If you push into too much buried emotion at once, you can create new traumas that make it harder to work with your emotions later. It’s sort of like cleaning. If you ignore your house until it’s a mess and then try to clean everything all at once, you’ll just exhaust yourself. But starting with realistic goals, you can make a difference one day at a time.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Haha my home is a bit of a mess, how did you know? First you tidy up, you go through your stuff and when the time is right, you don’t recycle everything but throw some big pieces away! Such a good analogy, I’m going to remember it as a visual tool 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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