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
When the worry is legitimate,
your anxiety by solving the real problem.