Worry vs. Concern: What’s the Difference?

First, let’s establish that there is a difference between worry and concern.

Concern embodies embracing the proper mindset for caring about important issues, decisions, events or conditions. It also means taking proper steps to create effective resolutions, monitoring their outcomes and making changes or modifications where necessary.

Worry on the other hand is a cyclic process of rumination moving in a circular pattern, eschewing resolution. It’s like drilling into a wine bottle with a corkscrew only to push the cork deeper and deeper into the bottle rather than removing it to enjoy the wine.

When we’re concerned, we wade into the shallow end of the pool first to “test the waters.” When we’re worried, we merely circle the pool staring into the abyss pondering what the water feels like – never taking the plunge.

Worry is draining and saps energy; concern is positive and fuels energy. Worry invites runaway stress, concern ushers in emotional intelligence.

So don’t worry about being concerned; but be concerned about worrying.

Joseph Wegmann, R.Ph., LCSW is a licensed clinical pharmacist and a clinical social worker with more than thirty years of experience in the field of psychopharmacology. His diverse professional background in psychopharmacology and counseling affords him a unique perspective on medication management issues. In addition to consulting with numerous psychiatric facilities, he has presented psychopharmacology seminars to thousands of clinicians in 46 states.

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