Worry: A Learned Experience

Psychologists have concluded worry is a learned experience. If you have trained yourself to worry, you can train yourself not to worry. Doing so may be a slow process with bumps on the reverse lane.

Go on the offence and start by speaking encouragement to persons. Try this:

“Worry and anxiety weighs a person down, but an encouraging word cheers a person up.” (Proverbs 12:25)

In summary this text means an encouraging word, a very good word, lifts the burden of anxiety and replaces it with cheer. That is a wonderful exchange.

Like you, others like to hear encouraging words. This has been described as the golden age of anxiety. That makes an encouraging word all the more valuable. In a variety of ways God has said what means “don’t worry, I will take care of you.” Trust Him. 

The Bible says to “cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (1 Peter 5:7) God loves you and will help you. He knows your heart and will enable you to grow in grace and in knowledge. Worry can’t change the past or control the future, so why let it ruin today?

Worry is simply negative thought. There is no substance to it that can change things. In reality it robs us of time that could be spent more constructively. 

To change from a negative mind set to a positive one, four areas need to be addressed.

Negative words originate in the heart. Matthew and Luke expand on this. Matthew records, “out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34)

Luke goes even further, “A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth that which is good, and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45)

Thus, to control your tongue speaking negatively, control your heart. Before medical science proved differently the ancients thought thoughts began in the heart and were carried to the brain by the blood. That makes it essential to subdue a negative thought before it matures into words. Follow the advice of Barney Fife, “Nip it, just nip it.”

Closely associated and needing control is the mind. What thoughts do you entertain? When you think a negative thought on a subject before leaving that subject, impose a positive thought on the same issue. Don’t leave the topic until you do this.

Aiding this process is your eyes. How do you look at things? Do you habitually see things from a negative perspective? If so, take a second look, and look at it from a positive perspective.

In order, this tandem of your being must increasingly be controlled by consciously changing your disposition: heart, mind, eyes, and tongue.

This instruction given Israel before going into battle, in principle, applies to you as you war against anxiety, which is malignant worry. “Hear, Israel: Today you are going into battle against your enemies. Do not be fainthearted or afraid; do not panic or be terrified by them. For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies to give you victory.”  (Deuteronomy 20:1-4)