Some things are so ancient that we forget why and how they came about. One of these things, I think, must be the concept of being "worried sick."
When you're "worried sick" about something, or more than one thing, you lose your appetite. In the worst cases, you just can't eat at all. I've experienced a great deal of this over the past six months, and it is now moving into a new year with the pangs still firmly in place.
Could there be a reason, known to the bored gods but not the busy one, why people worry themselves sick?
Imagine that the tribe has fallen upon hard times, and there's not enough food for your children. Perhaps you're insecure because your loved ones are dying, or being killed, or deserting. It makes sense, in this situation, for you to shut down your own metabolism so that your offspring will have more resources at their disposal.
This is psychologically-based, of course. Logic would dictate that you remain powerful by eating and exercising and getting lots of sleep ... the better to help your tribe. But self-sacrifice is also logical. It's logical and admired.
Many religions have periods of fasting and feasting. When times are bad, the fasts last longer and the feasts are cancelled or scaled back. I've polled the bored gods, and they say that they are every bit as impressed by people who fast and deprive themselves as they are by people who chow down and throw big parties.
People who don't worry themselves sick will tell you that such worry shortens your life. Yes, I imagine that it does. But in the Old Days, you would have been more willing to get out of the way for the next generation, if the going was tough. At least that's how I look at it.
This cheerful little essay has no uplifting message or happy zinger at the end of it. I know I shouldn't worry myself sick. I just wish I knew how to put the brakes on it. Maybe you can suggest a good bored deity for such issues?