Legitimate Worry

Dan has been a carpenter for 17 years, but he's starting to worry. His knee has been bothering him off and on for two years and it bothers him more and more and he's worried about it.

What should Dan do with his worry? Meditate more? Breathe deeply? No. The problem isn't the worry. The problem is the bad knee.

Dan could do several things. He could go to a knee doctor and/or a physical therapist, or even just a knowledgeable shoe salesman, or maybe all of them, and see if he can do something about the knee.

He could take a yoga class. Or he could solve his knee problem by getting into a different line of work. He could start taking night classes.

Dan could spend a few weeks making lists in his spare time of possible options. He could talk to all his friends about it and get ideas he might not have thought of. He could read up on knee problems.

He should convert his worry into a purpose: Solve the knee problem. He has a legitimate worry and the knee should be addressed, not the worry.

Sometimes your anxiety is irrational and unnecessary and the only healthy thing to do is directly lower your anxiety without ever dealing with what you are worried about. But I didn't want us to lose sight of the fact that sometimes worry is legitimate. And when that's the case, it's time to stop concerning yourself with your own anxiety and work to solve the real problem.

Adam Khan is the author of Principles For Personal Growth, Direct Your Mind, and co-author with Klassy Evans of How to Change the Way You Look at Things (in Plain English). Follow his podcast, The Adam Bomb.

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