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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Are you a worrywart?

Security from terror and the economy may be our first concern today, but a survey of the average Indian's worry index gives Times Life some interesting insights, reports Nona Walia

 IT'S 3 a.m., and you're awake — palms sweaty, mind racing. You're worried about your life. Your kids. Your parents. Your promotion. What are people thinking about you? The sad truth about modern life is: We're becoming worrywarts! We worry about everything! We worry about the 'what-ifs' in life. In an all-India survey by Times Life across eight cities, we asked worriers to write down everything that bothered them; 80 per cent people worried most about their family, 75 per cent about relationships. All Indians were worried about losing their self-esteem!
    Risking one's self-respect is sure to result in tense moments. Says actor Zulfi Sayed, "When we were inside Bigg Boss in confinement, we worried about our image. How are we being shown, what are people thinking about us? It became an obsession."
    Top worries are personal health, money, relation
ships followed by crime, the cost of living, terrorism and children's future. But silly worries count too: A teenager worries that her mom may find her secret diary, another schoolgirl worries about her dog being fat.
    Interestingly, 80 per cent people in
Mumbai w o r r y about m o n - e y o ve r family or relationships. They are also concerned about what people think about them. While 80 per cent Delhiites and Bangaloreans worry mainly about relationships, people in A h m e d - abad really w o r r y about losing their self-respect.
    Interestingly, in his book, The Worry Cure, author Robert Leahy writes, worriers respond differently to frightening situations than other
people. They stay upset, rather than becoming less anxious over time. According to Psychology Today, worry is often like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but doesn't necessarily get you anywhere. Says spiritual guru Ma Naina, from Osho Delhi, "To put an end to worries, you have to live in the present — then, there's no past and no future!"
Says spiritual guru Thich Nhat Hanh, "We spend spirit energy when we worry. It saturates us."
So, are we wired to worry? In these terror times, we're all worried about our security. Says Poonam Verma, vice-chairman of Property Guards, security agency, "I've had women wanting to know how to safeguard themselves, how to use weapons, men wanting to know if sniffer dogs can protect them, parents wanting to train kids to deal with panic. Corporates are worried about bomb threats." There are different kinds of worriers too. Chandrashekhar H. Panara, 21, a mountaineering instructor says, "I worry about small things that I can't control!"
The good thing about worrying is it can mobilise us into action. Like
Anuja Chauhan, author of Zoya Factor, who worries about whether her kids are eating right. "I don't worry about long-term stuff," she says.
Most worry today is about everyday
things rather than longterm threats. Says classical dancer Geeta Chandran, "I worry about old age. Small, daily irritants can be bothersome. Right now, the economic downturn is occupying a lot of my mind space. I think also about how there's lack of sensitivity today." Evolution may have given us the opportunity to worry, but that doesn't mean we should take the bait. Gitanjali Prasad, author of The Great Indian Family agrees, "Indians worry too much. Most worry about loss of a dear one. Losing your health is also a reason for anxiety."
    It seems people also worry a lot before they make big, life-changing decisions. But there's no need to kill yourself with worry. Says TV actor Hiten Tejwani, "I think a lot before making career decisions. My
wife, Gauri Pradhan also worries about small things."
    The website reallyworried.com logs 853 health worries, 580 current affairs worries, 333 money worries. That's a lot of worrying going around the world. Says its founder Richard Rubin, "I was a chronic worrier. I wanted people to have a place to share thoughts on worrying."
    Bosnian fitness expert Vesna wants to help create a worry-free world, "Indians worry about small things. We waste our lives worrying, but it can't change anything. So, why worry?"

1. Chennai 2. Mumbai 3. Bangalore 4. New Delhi 5. Hyderabad 6. Kanpur 7. Kolkata 8. Pune 9. Lucknow 10. Ahmedabad
ShareI Reveal your worries by talking. RelaxI Learn to let go and relax. DietI Cut down on caffeine and spicy food. DrinkI Avoiding alcohol keeps you in control of your worries.


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