Overcoming Fear & Anxiety | Orison Swett Marden | Audio Books

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Today’s motivational reading was edited and adapted from the book “Pushing to the Front,” by Orison Swett Marden, published in 1894…..

The monster of worry dogs us from the cradle to the grave. There is no occasion so sacred but it is there. Unbidden it comes to the wedding and the funeral alike. It is at every reception, every banquet; it occupies a seat at every table. No human mind can estimate the havoc and ruin wrought by worry. It has ever forced genius to do the work of mediocrity; it has caused more failures, more broken hearts, more blasted hopes, than any other one cause since the dawn of the world.

Did you ever hear of any good coming to any human being from worry? Did it ever help anybody to better their condition? Does it not always–everywhere–do just the opposite by impairing the health, exhausting the vitality, lessening efficiency? Think of the homes which it has broken up; the ambitions it has ruined; the hopes and prospects it has blighted!

If there is any devil in existence, is it not worry, with all its attendant progeny of evils? Yet, in spite of all the tragic evils that follow in its wake, a visitor from another world would get the impression that worry is one of our dearest, most helpful friends, so closely do we hug it to ourselves and so loath are we to part from it.

Is it not strange that people (who know perfectly well that success and happiness both depend on keeping themselves in condition to get the most possible out of their energies) should harbor in their minds the enemy of this very success and happiness?

Is it not strange that we should form this habit of anticipating evils that will probably never come, when we know that anxiety and fretting will not only rob us of peace of mind, and strength, and ability to do our work, but also of precious years of life?

No person can utilize their normal power who dissipates their nervous energy in useless anxiety. Nothing will sap one’s vitality and blight one’s ambition or detract from one’s real power in the world more than the worrying habit. Work kills no one, but worry has killed vast multitudes. It is not the doing of things which injures us so much as the dreading to do them—not only performing them mentally over and over again, but anticipating something disagreeable in their performance.

Worry not only saps vitality and wastes energy, but it also seriously affects the quality of one’s work. It cuts down ability. We cannot put the highest quality of efficiency into our work when our mind is troubled. The mental faculties must have perfect freedom before they will give out their best. A troubled brain cannot think clearly, vigorously, and logically. The attention cannot be concentrated with anything like the same force when the brain cells are poisoned with anxiety, as when they are fed by pure blood and are clean and unclouded.

The blood of chronic worriers is vitiated with poisonous chemical substances and broken-down tissues, according to Professor Elmer Gates and other noted scientists, who have shown that passions and harmful emotions cause actual chemical changes in the secretions and generate poisonous substances in the body which are fatal to healthy growth and action.

One of the worst forms of worry is the brooding over failure. It blights the ambition, deadens the purpose and defeats the very object the worrier has in view. Some people have the unfortunate habit of brooding over their past, castigating themselves for their shortcomings and mistakes, until their whole vision is turned backward instead of forward, and they see everything in a distorted light, because they are looking only on the shadow side.

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