The Way We Worry

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WORRY CAN BE A WASTE OF TIME. For in­stance, I’m con­fi­dent you won’t find me on my deathbed wish­ing I’d spent more hours fret­ting about ris­ing in­ter­est rates, the tone of an email or whether I’d over­pruned the rose bushes. In in­stances like these, worry is sim­ply un­pro­duc­tive. But, as health writer Jill Buchner re­veals in our cover story, “Tam­ing the ‘What Ifs’” (page 40), strate­gies do ex­ist for man­ag­ing out­sized concerns—and keep­ing them from ru­in­ing our sleep or mor­ph­ing into an anx­i­ety dis­or­der. She also passes on in­sight into how our wor­ries can help us solve prob­lems and pro­tect and mo­ti­vate our­selves.

There are, af­ter all, those times when worry seems per­fectly rea­son­able. Read­ing Charles Wilkins’ “Our In­con­ve­nient Truth” (page 88), I found my­self won­der­ing if we shouldn’t be more con­cerned about the rate at which Cana­di­ans are pro­duc­ing garbage (world­wide, we’re sec­ond only to Amer­i­cans).

Waste man­age­ment is a so­phis­ti­cated in­dus­try. The meth­ods of shunting trash from our homes con­tinue to evolve, but they are barely keep­ing pace with our grow­ing con­sump­tion. In­deed, our prob­lem with refuse is re­ally about how much stuff we’re buy­ing. I’ve de­cided to make that my fo­cus and con­trib­ute to solv­ing the prob­lem by cut­ting back on non-es­sen­tial pur­chases. Hope­fully that

will put my worry to good use.

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