Dan Zadra says (according to the internet), “Worry is a misuse of imagination.” So it seems to be a logical extension of that idea to say that we worry most about the things that are easiest to imagine. In this TED talk, Karen Thompson Walker cites history and scientific research to assert that this is indeed the case. Knowing this has the potential to help us make more informed and practical decisions…if we strive to focus on facts and not the lurid details that our brains can conjure. It can also help us short-circuit our brain’s inclination to borrow trouble and leave us marinating in the anxiety of what is possible, rather than what is probable. When we recognize our fears for what they are, a story that our mind is creating about what could possibly happen, after taking a logical look about whether the fear is something truly worth worrying about, we can choose to give less importance to some of the scary stories that our brains can distract us with.
PS – If anyone has a reliable citation for the quote above, please let me know!