Sufficient unto the day - old quote, modern wisdom

When I was a kid, if I was worried about something, my grandmother would often say, “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” and that would be the end of discussion.

I didn’t have a clue what this grammatically weird jumble of words meant. But hey, grandmothers! Then, just the other day, they popped into my head for no particular reason and I suddenly got it! ...

“…The troubles of today are enough to worry about” – or in other words, don’t go worrying about the future, just deal with what is necessary today.

Turns out the quote is from the Bible, Matthew 6:34  (it’s great how in these days of google, you don’t have to wonder about stuff much any more). One day over 2000 years ago, in front of a big crowd, Jesus was giving a long talk about various things (which came to be known as the Sermon on the Mount) and one of them was basically this: be present; don’t allow yourself to get anxious about things that may never happen. So, even back then, it seems worrying was a pretty common past time. But I guess anyone who can imagine, can worry.

Anxious people have the most amazing imaginations.  This is one of the reasons why anxiety often affects creative people more than the steadfast and practical. We are effortlessly able to create extraordinary, imaginary scenarios of misfortune. And each of these imaginings has as much substance as a bubble. But, unfortunately our nervous systems are unable to recognize this. 

Something vividly imagined has the power to affect the nervous system as much as the actual event. So we batter our poor bodies with these scary imaginings and after a while, our nervous systems think there really is an emergency happening, goes into red alert mode and starts to produce all the dreadful symptoms of anxiety.

Next time you start to create one of these bubbles, remind yourself that you are feeling anxious about something that literally isn’t real. You have no way of knowing how the future event will pan out. You will deal with it when the time comes. Pop that bubble and get back to the present. Your nervous system will love you for it.

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