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Friday, December 07, 2007


What, Me Worry?

"As a society, we are making decisions based on our perception of issues, and not based on the science underlying those issues. In 2007, we are preoccupied with West Nile virus, avian flu and mad cow disease. We worry ourselves sick about things that are not going to happen. Meanwhile, obesity is epidemic, smoking of cigarettes causes 400,000 deaths a year, and drinking alcohol causes 85,000 deaths in the U.S. alone, and we allow these."

- Dr. Mickey Gunter, University of Idaho

What do you worry about? Are most of your worries based on perception rather than reality? I've found that since I no longer watch TV news, my list of fears has decreased dramatically. I used to dwell on things that had very little chance of actually happening to me, just because the talking heads on the TV news told me I should be afraid. But then I'd forget about the slippery bathtub in my house or the artery-clogging hamburger I was eating.

Every now and then it's good to remind ourselves of what's real and important in our lives, and what deserves our genuine concern. Shake off the false perceptions and focus on what you can do for your family to make them safer and happier. You might be surprised at how close to worry-free you can become.


Blogger samuel said...

I would argue with the suggestion in the quote that "drinking alcohol causes 85,000 deaths a year." It's arguable that, in some way, alcohol is responsible for some amount of deaths, but drinking alcohol does not cause death. Not that this makes your point any less valid, but such blanket suggestions don't really help the discussion.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Phil said...

True, I'm not sure what comprises his statistic. I know that drunk driving deaths numbered over 13,000 last year. That number alone is still worthy of our attention over the one or two cases of mad cow disease.

12:51 AM  
Blogger The Father of Five said...

I dont know about the smoking and the drinking (hey, we all need a "vice" or two dont we??)

But, I too have removed TV news from my life, and I feel 100% better for it.

I get news "drops" on my pager. (Just the headlines) about four or five times a day. I read my headlines, and then IF (and that is a big if) there is anything that is of any intrest to me - I'll seek out additional info via newspaper, web, or TV broadcast.

Smoking and drinking may kill XX,XXX number of people a year, but the TV news was killing this Father of Five with added (unnessessary) stress!

5:16 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

I worry about school, whihc is probably a good thing right now.

However, I need to always remind myself that it's a just a grade. And like my undergrad, it only matters that I got the degree, not what the grade it.

8:02 AM  
Blogger brettdl said...

I stopped watching TV News a long time ago, but still see plenty to worry about. Generally speaking, I separate worldly worries from home worries, except when my kids start sucking on cheap Chinese toys.

8:26 AM  
Blogger ImPerceptible said...

I don't watch the news either. I'm much happier because of it. If anything important happens someone will let me know.

8:55 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

My wife thrives on worry, its the whole point of her life, I cure one problem and she goes and finds another one to worry about - I just let her get on with it in the end.

Me, I worry about nothing, my life train is careering down the tracks with the hill slide just around the corner and I'm sitting here in the dining car sipping coffee and reading the paper, what happens will happen, I might die tomorrow, I might die in fifty more years, I don't really care.

11:43 AM  
Anonymous becky said...

I don't worry about things other people are doing unless it directly effects me. Stopped watching the news after Katrina. As for the drinking and smoking.. I think a lot of it is genetics. My grandmothers brothers and sisters drank a lot and smoked too. None died from cancer or heart disease just old age. Late 80's. Put myself through school in my 20's bartending and I would have to say the majority of the people I served were responsible. Of course there were regulars(every day drinkers) but they were there because of a tragedy(loss of child,wife some even BAD war experiences).To them the thought of death being one day closer was actually welcomed. I am strongly against drinking and driving there is no excuse. If you know your going out , put a taxi cab number in your pocket ,stop at the cash machine just plan ahead. I have and will continue to make sure that doesn't happen.Have a 21 year old sister she knows to call me. That it is about (consideration) public safety.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Kristen said...

I saw a great episode on 20/20 about this earlier in the year...Americans worry about all kinds of things that are relatively harmless. We should be concerned with what we eat and how much exercise we get if we want to increase our odds of meeting our grandchildren. As my Dad always said, "don't worry about the things you can't control." And in addition, deal with the things you can.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Keri said...

You are right about the t.v. news!
There is SO much less to worry about when you don't watch or listen!

7:12 PM  

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