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2021 OBHS Prefect - Jonathan Burnside

The Last Word

Jonathan Burnside —

Today I wanted to talk about worrying, more specifically why we do it and a few ways we can cut some of that nagging worry from our minds.

According to the dictionary, to be worried is to be in the state of being anxious and troubled over actual or potential problems. A recent study found that most New Zealanders spend roughly half an hour per day worrying. This adds up to a week over the course of a year. This study was conducted on everyday Kiwis and included teens just like you and I, so the results are relevant for all of us.

Now, I would be the first to admit that I am a repeat offender when it comes to worrying over nothing, and in doing so wasting time and energy I could put to better use elsewhere. I can describe my worries as nothing now but that is only with the added benefit of hindsight. At the time, without the wider perspective you gain after the fact, those little things that are really nothing can grow into something else entirely. They can take over and sit in the back of your mind, chipping away and laying the seeds of doubt. 

For the past few weeks, my worry has been this Last Word and whether it will be up to the mark. Worries can come from anywhere. They can be from sport, from school, either academically or socially. They can come from our lives away from school and of course they can come from the big unknown of the future. How much a person worries often has a lot more to do with the mindset of the individual, rather than how many actual problems the person may have. There are possibly people living in the depths of poverty in third world countries with plenty of big problems who are less worried than some who are much more fortunate, living the good life but still plagued by worries they cannot shake. So how can we deal with worry?

Well, if there is something you can do about your worry, do it. If the workload of school is getting heavy, then go work on your internal. The act of even just opening the doc. and having a look at where you are will go a long way in returning a feeling of control. Even better if you can do some work on it. The longer you leave work, the worse your worry and your mark will be. Procrastination has never helped anything. The slightly trickier worry to deal with is the one we have absolutely zero control over and therefore as much as we would like to, cannot put right. The feeling of not being able to do anything about a problem is one of the worst but realistically, if there is nothing you can do, then why worry? Worrying is a useless emotion as all it does is wear you down mentally without fixing anything. The outcome - good or bad, is out of your control so just relax and take your mind off it. If you feel like you absolutely must do something, then just go and talk to someone about whatever it is you're worrying about. Often a different perspective or even just hearing someone else discuss your problem can go a long way towards making you feel better about it.

Trying to get some perspective can also be really helpful. Think to yourself about the great big universe out there and how small and insignificant you and your worries are. Think about the passing of time and how in a few weeks, months or years you likely won’t even remember what is that you are worrying over.

Whatever happens, the sun will come up tomorrow and life will go on. So, try to worry a little less about the small stuff. In traditional fashion I will end on a quote, 'Worrying does not take away the troubles of tomorrow, it just takes away the peace of today.'