Saturday, May 23, 2009

Sunday Scribblings #93 - Worry

Chronic worry can lead to a host of physical ailments: heart attacks, high blood pressure, ulcers, gastrointestinal problems, muscular aches and pains, skin rashes, eczema, respiratory problems and asthma. Close to one in four people, at some point in their lives, meet criteria for diagnosable anxiety disorders related to worry which require professional treatment.
Canadian Mental Health Association

A quick google search and here's what I learn about a few prescriptions for worry:


These very small and colorful dolls traditionally made in Guatemala. A person (usually a child) who cannot sleep due to worrying can express their worries to a doll and place it under their pillow before going to sleep. Some medical centers use them in conjunction with treatment for disease in children.

According to folklore, the doll is thought to worry in the person's place, thereby permitting the person to sleep peacefully. The person will wake up without their worries, which have been taken away by the dolls during the night. Parents may remove the doll during the night, reinforcing the child's belief that the worry is gone.
Some parents involve the child in making the dolls to further increase the psychological benefits of releasing worries.

Because they are inexpensive and small to transport, many tourists buy the dolls. Many are also sold online, and some office workers in the United States put them on their desks or computer monitors.


Kombolói or kompoloi (Greek: κομπολόι, pronounced [komboˈloj] or [koboˈloj]) "bead collection"; plural: κομπολόγια pronounced [ko(m)boˈloja] romanized as kombolóya) is a part of modern Greek culture, used to relieve stress and generally pass the time.
Komboloi: a traditional "stress toy" or "fidget toy"

How does it work?

* By repeating the same motion (counting or flipping the beads --> see below how
to do this)
* By repeating a word, sound, prayer, affirmation, goal, etc. as you finger each
* By the energy and special properties contained in each type of material
(gemstones, amber, etc.) which is transferred to your hands
* By meditating on the color and shape of the beads
* By giving yourself something to do while waiting or feeling stressed
* By associating your beads with calm/serene moments

Instructions on using Greek worry beads : komboloi

1. The easiest "flip" starts by holding the komboloi by its end, or midway among the beads (divide the beads in half and hold the string somewhere in the middle). While looking at your hand with the palm facing up, the worry bead set should be swaying down towards the ground.

2. While applying only a minimal amount of energy, swing the set upward and over your index finger.

3. Now it hangs over the top of your hand, or the palm side of all four fingers. You may use your thumb to individually move each bead over the top, or repeat the flip.

Try this simple flip over and over, until you get to a point where you can flip repeatedly without much thought. Focusing on the beads and their motion takes your mind away from worries and a degree of relaxation is achieved. Additionally, restlessness, impatience, nervousness can be reduced, simply because you are doing something to pass the time.


Some great ideas. Really sensible alternatives to making myself sick by internalizing and withdrawing - that's what I do when I'm worried. Course talking about my worries would help too....


  1. You have opened my eyes to dolls and beads. I think I need the beads. Thanks for the info

  2. very interesting! i like the concept of worry dolls. it's like letting go of a bad thought.. exhaling it out (verbally releasing it).. very neat! the worry beads remind me of prayer beads or malas. where you meditate on a mantra.

  3. Thanks for this wonderful post. I needed read about the dolls and the beads!

    listen to me

  4. i could do with some dolls and beads... i worry too much.. really interesting information.

  5. I think I need both! This is so cool - I love both the beads and the dolls :)

  6. Fun post, it looks as though worrying has been an awareness folks have had for a very long time.
    For some reason the lines from the once popular song just popped into my mind: Don't worry, just be happy~

  7. I like those little dolls. I might try that and see if I sleep better. Nah just joking. I had not seen them before, but I do know of the worry beads. I like that you took a different road to every one else's take on this prompt.Well done.

  8. Ahh, this brings back vivid memories of my grandfather, who passed away in 2001. He was always fidgeting with his komboloi. I could tell his mood and general disposition just by how he'd play with them, because you couldn't read his face - he always seemed so stoic otherwise. We'd sit in his living room talking about things, sometimes for hours, and sometimes he'd go quiet and those beads would be running through his fingers furiously as he absorbed what I said and thought it through. He had quite the collection, but he'd spend years at a time with one favourite set. After he passed away it was the only item of his I asked for and still have.

    I can say with certainty he channelled much of his stress through the komboloi. Sometimes he'd yell, though, in that hot-headed way that Greeks have. :)