I think that we can all agree (even without any input from Dale Carnegie in Chapter 3 of his book, How To Stop Worrying And Start Living) that worry can kill. It shortens lives and creates illness within a worrier’s body with devastating ease. So, is it any small wonder that Mr. Carnegie should talk to us, at the start of this chapter, about this well-known fact?
Of course, Dale points out that doctors he’s personally spoken to feel that seventy percent of their patients could cure themselves of their ailments if they would only stop worrying. He clearly acknowledges that people who are sick from worrying too much aren’t imagining it. However, he feels that the chain of events where worry is concerned in relation to one’s health goes something like this.
Fear causes worry. Worry causes tension in the body. Tension in the body affects the nervous system. When the nervous system is affected for long periods of time, things like arrhythmia of the heart, ulcers in the stomach and much worse begin to occur for the person experiencing the worry. For many it has already led to an early grave. Even in the world today; chances are pretty good that worry will probably take many more lives unless people learn how to change their thinking habits.
Dale talks about how people have actually developed conditions like diabetes, arthritis and cancer because of the worry they have permitted to run rampant in their lives. He also gives examples of how some of these conditions have been reversed once the person understood that their emotional upset was the root of their medical condition.
Mr. Carnegie tells us here that those people who are fortunate enough to realize that it’s their worrying that is causing them to receive a high number of medical bills in the mail and destroying their quality of life are the lucky ones. They are the ones who have the power at that point to do something about it and often do. This positive action on their part often triggers some highly effective results for them both in body and mind.
Dale Carnegie also expresses his gratitude, in this chapter of his original work, “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living,” for the medical profession finally being willing to look at the full picture when it comes to a patient’s health problems. In years past patients used to be treated for their physical ailments only. The condition of the mind and body were treated as two separate and unrelated things. However, he was pleased to see that the tied had begun to turn with this approach to modern medicine.
Carnegie points out in this chapter; In World War II one out of every six men called to serve were turned away because they exhibited psychological disorders that made them unfit for duty. Dale talks about how he suspected that fear and worry can play a large role in driving a person to the point of insanity. But he also acknowledged that this is difficult to prove because there is so much still to learn about the way the mind works. He reasons however that worry and other negative emotions, like hate along with fear, were probably contributing factors for many who began suffering from mental illnesses.
“True,” it is often easier said than done to learn how to stop worrying. However, it is possible to do. For some of us, counseling helps with stress management. But it is also possible for others to simply learn to stop worrying all on their own.
Bottom line? With worry being the cause of many different sicknesses and diseases, while even accelerating the aging process drastically for some, wouldn’t it be better to learn how to fight worry? If you had to choose giving up worry or living a longer healthier life you would pick giving up the worry, right?