Five-Number Test

We all worry. Worrying has become an integral part of our life.  The reasons that we all get worried about may be different.

Some of us worry about our job, some about school and college. Some worry about money while others worry about friends and family. Yet, there are some who need not have any specific reason to get worried; they just worry about life in general.

While we’re constantly worrying about things in life, causing frequent anxiety, stress, and fear, it slowly and steadily becomes a habit which stops us from living our life to the fullest.

We all feel that it is natural to worry. There is no shortage of reasons to get worried. It can be as trivial as missing a bus or as serious as losing a job.

It is easy to say that worrying is waste of time, but then difficulties are part of life. Hence worrying becomes a human tendency. We worry because we expect too much from our life and especially from others.

It is even easier to say that we should just stop worrying and live our lives. But honestly, it is easier said than done, because the person who says may not even be knowing you fully or the type of problems that you are facing.

Worrying constantly is the direct route to several health problems. The stress hormones such as adrenalin and cortisol, which negatively impact us mentally and physically by reducing our body’s natural immunities are released when we start worrying. These hormones increase our level of stress, negatively affecting our diet and digestive system, and thus leading to more complicated health issues.

The reasons for worry may vary. We may worry about money that we might not have enough of it at the end of the month. We may worry about our spouses when we feel that our relationships are on the rocks. And most commonly, we worry about what others would think of us.

Though there are no proven and effective methods which can make us stop worrying instantly and start living our life, just by shifting your focus and creating a deeper understanding for the bigger picture, we can all help to alleviate some of the enormous weight resting on our shoulders.

Since worrying is a habit that has become ingrained in our mind, like any other habit we might have, nothing is going to happen overnight. But, just like any other habit, it’s possible to quit worrying and start really living your life by following the five-number test.

Almost everyone knows about the five-number summary. For those who don’t, it is a set of descriptive statistics that provide information about a dataset. It consists of the five most important sample percentiles:

  1. the sample minimum (smallest observation)
  2. the lower quartile or first quartile
  3. the median (middle value)
  4. the upper quartile or third quartile
  5. the sample maximum (largest observation)

The five-number summary provides a concise summary of the distribution of the observations. Reporting five numbers avoids the need to decide on the most appropriate summary statistic.

The five-number test works almost similar to this strategy, helping us avoid the worry based on how long it is going to affect us.

  1. If it will not affect us for more than 5 minutes, then it is not worth giving a thought at all.
  2. If it will not affect us for more than 5 hours, it is not worth spending more than 5 seconds thinking about it.
  3. If it will not affect us for more than 5 days, then the maximum time that we should be spending worrying about it is 5 minutes.
  4. If it will not affect us for more than 5 months, then the problem is not worth worrying for more than 5 hours.
  5. If it will not affect us for more than 5 years, then we should worry about it for a maximum of 5 days.

If we analyse all the problems that we have faced in our lives so far, we will be surprised to conclude that there has not been a single problem which would linger in our minds and our lives to be a worry for more than five years.

By taking this five-number test, we can cut off lots of unproductive hours in our life, which we waste just thinking and worrying about the past, things which are really not going to make any significant difference in our lives for the future.

If it is not worth our thought, let’s stop thinking about it. If it is not worth our worry, let’s stop worrying about it.

“Worrying is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere” – Van Wilder. Let’s rock the worry before it rocks our life. 

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