“There is a great difference between worry and concern. A worried person sees a problem, and a concerned person solves a problem.” ~ Harold Stephens
“Our fatigue is often caused not by work, but by worry.” ~ Dale Carnegie
Hi Diamond! Everyone worries, right? We all worry from time to time. Worrying is so common, you might be tempted to think of it as an instinct. I would like to confess, until about 10 years ago I was a worrywart. So much so that I was an enabler and became overly-responsible for things that were not even my responsibility. I wanted more for others and was trying harder for them than they were for themselves, and that was an issue. And this caused me a lot of unnecessary pressure and anxiety. Something needed to change in my life as my soul was becoming frustrated, and nothing was going to change unless I decided to make a change; this may be you (or someone you know). Overcoming being a worrywart is not easy, no, it's not, especially with all of the uncertainty and chaos surrounding us in the world today, yet it is doable, and this doesn’t mean that you won’t worry from time to time. Worrying does not serve you; in fact it can lead to feelings of high anxiety and send your mind and body into overdrive. Allow me to share the difference between worry vs. concern.
Worry vs. Concern
Worrying is counterproductive and once you understand the difference between being worried and being concerned you can eliminate a lot of anxiety. Worry is the continual, ruminative thought of what might go wrong–an anticipation of turmoil, danger, pain or suffering. Like: What if this pandemic never ceases? Will I ever get back to some normalcy? What if it doesn’t, and then what will I do? Worry can cause undue self-torment, as you torture yourself with the what-if thinking.
Concern, on the other hand, is more fact-based and geared toward problem-solving. Whereas worrying anticipates problems and things going in total despair (loss of control). Dealing with fact (being concerned), or dealing with what-if negative thinking (worrying)? Concern is circumstance-driven; and Worry is fear and uncertainty-driven.
Read through the examples below and ask yourself whether there is any benefit to worrying.
Worry: What if I can’t lose this pandemic weight gain and fit into that dress? Concern: I’m going to have to be intentional about working out and watch what I eat if I’m going to fit into that dress.
Worry: What if I’m late to the interview, I won’t get the job? Concern: I’d better leave thirty minutes earlier to avoid any traffic delays.
Worry: What if my manager says no to the proposal? Concern: Whether the answer is yes or no, either way I’ll survive.
Worry: This is an unusual pain. What if it’s serious? Concern: If it’s still there in a few days, I’ll call the doctor. No sense assuming the worst.
Worry can cause you emotional turmoil, rob you of your peace of mind, lead to nervous breakdowns, illness and suicide. When the body and mind is subject to the pressure of worrying there are mental and emotional breakdowns that occur, and you may be unable to think or function properly. When it comes to concern, it allows you to think clearly about your problems and avoid being bombarded by what you think can go wrong; you focus on solutions and not the problem. You are concerned about finding solutions to your problems and you can calmly think of ideas or a plan of action to take.
If you want to be effective there is no contest if you compare worry with concern. This was truly a personal breakthrough for me when I absorbed this knowledge and began consciously shifting my mindset. Being concerned is a productive way of thinking that really prepares you for life’s challenges. Concern is regarded as a solution-oriented and healthy state, which expresses the positive aspect of focusing on a potential problem with the intent to solve it in a beneficial way. Being worried, on the other hand, is a destructive kind of thinking that leads to a life of stress, anxiety, and fear.
Concern is Considered as a Positive Quality. Worrying is Considered as a Negative Quality.
Differentiating between worry and concern is non-existent to most of us as we assume that worrying about something and being concerned is much the same thing. However, between these two words there is a difference. Worrying is about being uneasy or anxious about something and you keep ruminating about it over and over. Concern is a bit different. Concern is when an issue arrests your attention and you begin to care and feel troubled and seek solutions. When you find yourself concerned or troubled about another individual you feel an urge to do something about it. Unlike worrying, you will not keep on feeling anxious about a situation but try to find solutions to fixing it. When you are concerned, you do not go into the problem again and again. Instead, you’ll try channeling your energy to make the necessary choices and decisions in order to solve the problem. Concern is considered as a positive quality.
Worry, on the other hand, is when you feel anxious or stressed about actual or potential problems. Worrying is considered as a negative quality because it only puts you in a worse position where you would be thinking over and over about a certain issue, without addressing the possible solutions. When you are worried, you ruminate over the same thing again and again to no avail resulting in going round the problem in futile circles. It is a tiring process that drains your energy completely while inviting stress. Worry is based on assumptions of the near-by future. Worry is driven mostly by fear and causes your faith to be overpowered by doubt.
To be concerned about something is a natural state of caring whether something of great importance will go well or not. Concern is when you understand and recognize there is some problem, like being alerted that something is wrong. Concern is more about the present situation and is generally based on facts. It is more grounded in reality than assumptions of the future. Worry is something which stems from negative thoughts about the future with assumptions that are driven by fear and anguish. Worry is a futile effort that drains you, it is a process that does not benefit you but makes you even more miserable and leads you towards the very place that you started. Concern leads you towards a solution. It's truly a game-changer!
So don't worry about being concerned; but be concerned about worrying!!
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Questions to Ponder:
What resonated with you regarding the difference between worry vs concern?
What are you concerned about lately and what are some solutions?
What’s worrying you the most right now? How could you make a shift from what-if negative thinking (worrying) to a plan of actions to take (solution-oriented concern)?