An Easy Way To Stop Worrying


I worry a lot.

It’s as though my brain is permanently hungry and its nourishment is a meaty, complex dilemma. It loves to chew on worry, savoring a quandary for as long as possible, sucking every last morsel off the bone of ‘What if something goes wrong?’ Nom, nom, nom.

But worry is pointless.

Having a plan is smart, but worrying is useless negative static. When you drift off into a state of worry, you’re residing in either the past or the future, which means you’re missing out on enjoying a perfectly happy place called The Present Moment. Plus, if you let worry in all the time, it’ll take up residence between your eyebrows until you have a furrow so deeply etched that you could post letters in it:

Dear Head,
Thanks for making me look old and bitter. Yes, I’m being sarcastic.
Sincerely, Me.

An easy solution …

Allow me to introduce you to Worried Guy:

Rosalie Gale rescued this enormous painting from the trash in Seattle, Washington. She is the proprietrix of, a website through which she trades unusual objects. In her account of finding Worried Guy, she writes, “… It was huge … and scary. He has metal wire hair and fingernails and staple eyebrows … I decided that since the guy looks so worried, I would write down all the stuff that I worry about all the time and stick them to his wire hair. Then I’d just let him worry about them.”

Worried Guy | Anonymous 48″ x 37″, oil on canvas with wire, staples, paper. Image and text source: from, Museum of Bad Art: Masterworks by Michael Frank and Louise Reilly Sacco, Ten Speed Press.

Among the worries she let him assume were:

“Large bodies of water”
“Having too much stuff ”
“Staying home from work”

Here’s what I’d like to offload onto Worried Guy.

“Am I on track in my life?”
“What if I get bad reviews for my book?”
“What if somebody steals my Macbook?”
“What if my Macbook spontaneously combusts?”
“Do I have an unhealthy relationship with my Macbook?”
“Who cares about my freakin’ Macbook, global warming is going to kill us all!”

But from now on … I’m just going to let HIM worry about all that stuff for me.

What would you like to stick in the hair of Worried Guy?

If you enjoyed this post:

Subscribe to my RSS feed.


Torre DeRoche is the author of two travel memoirs, Love with a Chance of Drowning (2013) and The Worrier’s Guide to the End of the World (due out September 2017). She has written for The Atlantic, The Guardian Travel, The Sydney Morning Herald, Emirates, and two Lonely Planet anthologies.

Leave a Comment

  • Ian [EagerExistence] July 18, 2011, 12:13 pm

    Somebody stole my laptop in Italy. Sucks. It was my connection to the interwebz. Not just stalkbook and twiddler, but also booking hostels, paying credit card bills, etc. And now I cant find an English laptop in EU. Looks like a trip to Britain.

    But still, hardly worth worrying over. I just brush it off and party hearty.

    • Torre DeRoche July 20, 2011, 10:32 am

      That does suck. I know the feeling (I lost not one but two DSLR cameras and nice expensive lenses). Good on you for partying heartyishly.

  • Kim July 18, 2011, 5:10 pm

    Haha, great post Torre and came at the perfect time for me. I have been doing a lot of worrying lately and while I know it is fruitless I just can’t help but roll around in it. Anyway, I’m going to think about what I’m going to stick in that guys hair and maybe even write those worries down.

    • Torre DeRoche July 20, 2011, 10:33 am

      Let me know how it goes for you. I think your worry will go away when deals are closed 🙂

  • Debbie Beardsley July 18, 2011, 6:32 pm

    Love this idea! I’m not a huge worrier but lets face it we all worry from time to time. My current worry I would hand over would be my daughters choice to give an ex a 4th-chance! Oh sometimes I really don’t like being a mother 🙁

    • Torre DeRoche July 20, 2011, 10:35 am

      Oh no, I would worry about that too 🙁 Let’s stick it in the man’s hair.

  • Karen July 18, 2011, 7:06 pm

    I’m worrying that I haven’t done my meditation homework. So I’m doing it now, while browsing my emails and reading blogs. Hmm …

    • Torre DeRoche July 20, 2011, 10:36 am

      I think interwebbing is the direct opposite of meditation?

  • Angela July 19, 2011, 12:18 am

    I absolutely hear you. In Europe I used to worry a lot, since I came to East Asia I’ve been worrying much less and now that I’m preparing for another trip I started worrying all over again, as if it’s the first time, I’ve been an expat moving around countries and continents for 6 years! The most visible result of my worrying is just a frequent migraine though, I might need to stop 😉

    • Torre DeRoche July 20, 2011, 10:37 am

      Ouch – migraines. Yep, that’s advanced worry alright. What are you worried about exactly?

      • Angela July 21, 2011, 2:26 pm

        Umm.. usually I get stressed out when I’m under pressure for work and in the middle of another international relocation, like now.. But I realize I’m very productive under pressure, so maybe I unconsciously look for it 😛

  • Audrey July 19, 2011, 2:06 am

    Sounds like a plan! I’m going to picture this guy whenever I start worrying about things I have absolutely no control over…pretty cool that she found this in the trash!

    • Torre DeRoche July 20, 2011, 10:39 am

      I know, what kind of person would throw WORRIED GUY away? Maybe a person who painted him as an expression of their own worries? Perhaps they thought that by throwing him in the trash they were ridding themselves of worry, but now he’s revived and online.

  • Leif July 19, 2011, 3:37 am

    Nom nom nom, I love that sound lol. Worrying is pointless, you are right. But it’s hard to train your mind not to drift into old worrying habits though.

  • Andrea July 20, 2011, 5:02 pm

    I needed to read a post like this at the moment. You’re right – worrying keeps you away from the present. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Benjamin July 22, 2011, 6:54 pm

    That is a pretty freaky looking painting. That is a creative way to deal with worries but I’m not sure if it would work for me. I think the only thing that ever helps with my worrying is reassuring myself that some things are far beyond my control. Worrying about those things won’t change the outcome.

    • Rosalie Gale July 24, 2011, 9:36 pm

      Hey! Worrying Man! Long time no see. How cool to see folks writing about him and my original worries. Smooches from bARTer Sauce….

  • Steve Roy August 16, 2011, 7:37 pm

    This post is hilarious.
    I love your writing-so witty 🙂

    I’d like to unload a few worries on this odd painting thing:
    1. What if I never get out of my black hole of a job?
    2. What if my kids grow up to be bad people?
    3. What if I stay broke forever and end up like my mother, who has to live in a tiny studio apartment because all she can afford is $400/month in rent?
    4. What if something bad happens to my children?
    5. What if I can’t make my business work and become a lifetime employee?
    6. What if I die today and miss out on all life has to offer?

    I could go on all day with this….
    Thanks for this, Torre 🙂

    • Torre DeRoche August 16, 2011, 10:41 pm

      Thanks, Steve. Consider these concerns officially handed over to Worry Man. Now that you’ve recruited this freak to do your worrying, you can be free!

  • Crystal June 11, 2013, 1:07 am

    I think I’m going have to make a painting like this one for my home. I worry a lot and I’ve come to find how exhausting it truly is. Having read this article does make me feel a lot better though. Sometimes it’s difficult to remember that our problems aren’t personal, but rather, many people go through similar things. Thanks for your post!

  • Adam October 29, 2013, 4:39 am

    Do I have a tapeworm inside of me? Will tpmy ceiling ever collapse and rats fall on me when I’m sleeping? My throat is always dry will it ever be normal?

  • donald prince November 7, 2013, 10:13 pm

    thank you