The Anxiety of Returning Things

"You can do this," I whispered under my breathe. "You can return these gloves."

Does Worrying About Money Make You Better at Money?

Attention K-Mart shoppers! Worrying about money does not make you better at money. I repeat, worrying about money does not make you better at money.

The act of worrying actually hurts, not helps. … worrying about money hurts your ability to think clearly about everything else in your life. In a separate study, researchers found that financial worries affect cognitive abilities.

The article goes on to call fretting “a useless habit” that you might be able to curtail by asking yourself simple questions, like, “What am I really worried about? Is it something in my control?” and “If it’s not in my control, do I gain anything by worrying about it?” To which I say: … maybe. Some people are anxious! It’s a hard habit to shake and sometimes it goes deeper, into how we’re wired. But even leaving chemical imbalances aside, most of us who worry do not expect to gain anything by worrying; we worry because it’s how we interact with the world and the seemingly gleeful way it throws surprises at us.

Still, it can be freeing to hear Science say, in that resounding, definitive voice Science uses, that worrying doesn’t help. It allows us to say, “Why bother?” And then maybe say it again, with a smile, and again, until we begin to believe it. It’s kind of like how hearing that doing exercise you hate doesn’t make you thin. WHY BOTHER WHY BOTHER WHY BOTHER have an ice cream sandwich and take a yoga class instead.

Image via Lewis Minor

Depression and Money, Some Real Talk

Martha Kaplan and I are both depressed. This is the first in a series of conversations about depression and money.