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Don’t worry, be happy

Lizzie Enfield considered herself a born worrier and accepted she just had to live with that. But then came the possibility of change…

My mother always used to say that the best part of a holiday was coming home and finding that the house had not burned down. The pleasures of the holiday were largely obscured by this unfounded worry. There had never been so much as a stray spark from an electrical item in the house, but she was a veteran worrier.

I’m the same. I’m a freelancer who worries constantly that I might never work again – despite having managed to put food on the table for more than 20 years. I have good friends, but worry that something I said might have offended them. I’m a competent adult who has travelled all over the world but, before each trip, I worry that the flight will be cancelled, that the hotel won’t accommodate us, that snow will scupper our plans…

Worry can be a useful problem-solving activity – that’s its point; it leads us to think about strategies and solutions for dealing with a given situation. But chronic worriers do it to excess, letting it eat away at them, giving them indigestion, fatigue, aches and pains, allowing it to affect their relationships and sometimes spiral into depression.

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