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Dr. G. & Friends  |  

An aid to coping with anxiety

Reflecting on their challenge with generalized chronic anxiety, one person found they fell into five fairly distinct classifications:


  1. Worries about disasters which, as later events proved, never happened (about 40% of their anxieties).
  2. Worries about decisions they had made in the past, decisions about which they could now do nothing (about 30% of their anxieties).
  3. Worries about possible sickness and a possible nervous breakdown, neither of which materialized (about 12% of their worries).
  4. Worries about their children and friends, worries arising from the fact they forgot these people have an ordinary amount of common sense (about 10% of their worries).
  5. Worries that have a real foundation in reality (possibly 8% of the total).


James Gorden Gilkey, author of Solving Life’s Everyday Problems, suggests one way of dealing with generalized anxiety. He prescribes limiting our worrying to the few perils in the fifth group.

This simple act will eliminate 92% of one’s fears, he suggests.

Or, to figure the matter differently, it will leave us free from worry 92% of the time.

Israel Galindo is Associate Dean for Lifelong Learning at the Columbia Theological Seminary. He directs the Pastoral Excellence Program at Columbia seminary. He is the author of the bestseller, The Hidden Lives of Congregations (Alban), Perspectives on Congregational Leadership (Educational Consultants), and A Family Genogram Workbook (Educational Consultants), with Elaine Boomer & Don Reagan, and Leadership in Ministry: Bowen Theory in the Congregational Context.

His books on education include Academic Leadership: Practical Wisdom for Deans and Administartors, Mastering the Art of Instruction,The Craft of Christian Teaching (Judson), How to be the Best Christian Study Group Leader (Judson), and Planning for Christian Education Formation (Chalice Press).

Dr. G. & Friends