A minute with Diogo

Are you worrying too much? by Diogo Silva Santos,

Thinking about what to do tomorrow, how to improve our professional career, where to go to during the holidays, and many other daily things 'worthy of our care' are concerns that have a significant toll in the well-being of any of us.

 

Many people think too much about what they have to do next month, and where they will be in 20 years’ time. "I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened", said Mark Twain. Isn't this statement true to so many of us?

 

Why do we worry so much? Surprisingly, the main culprit is agriculture. According to Mark Leary in the 'Psychology Today' magazine, 15 thousand years ago human beings lived way worse than today but worried far less. They were nomads, survived by eating what they could hunt, and there was no point in worrying if there would be any game to kill next week, or next month. When said day arrived, they would know! Nomadic people just thought one or two days ahead, at most.

 

The introduction of agriculture and a sedentary lifestyle provided us with more comfort but changed everything in our daily routine. Always living on the same place, and stopping the search for game, water and everything else needed for survival, made human beings change. Looking after the land and relying on it to survive meant that humans had to start thinking ahead: worrying constantly about the weather, where to get the seeds, who could do the crops and worrying if there would be any disease that would kill the plantation, or how could they prevent an attack of wild animals. And what about the warehouse? Will it be enough? Is it safe from thieves?! People began to worry very much about their future.

 

Today, in our contemporary society so focused on personal success, anxiety is the norm. Worst of all, we don't feel anxious about something specific but about the future as a whole! There isn't a secret formula to worry less, as it depends on the individual. According to Leary, knowing why we tend to worry, and why we think so far ahead may help in making us worry less.

 

We need to focus more on the present. If we feel that we are too anxious about something, a nice lunch with the family or a walk somewhere, or even a good game or film with friends will help us realise what life is, and why we should live it more. Listening to the wonderful song 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' from Bobby McFerrin can probably help too!

 

It is up to us to live a happy life, because being happy relies greatly on how we look at our own life. At the end of the day the happy moments that we share with a special someone (or that we have alone) are far more precious than anything one can buy. And if we are smiling, the world does seem a better place.

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