I’ve never been much of a worrier, but through the years I’ve certainly seen firsthand how exhausting and debilitating it can be. In fact, watching people worry and be so anxious and miserable has always made me determined not to worry. It’s never looked like it was much fun!
To a certain degree, worry can be healthy and productive if it leads us to come up with solutions to problems and gets us motivated. However, if taken to the extreme, it can lead to a great deal of anxiety and be quite debilitating. I saw a quote from author Dan Zadra not too long ago that seems appropriate here: “Worry is a misuse of imagination.” When we worry, it can certainly take us on a “mind trip” as we picture worst-case scenarios and fear dreaded outcomes. I love another quote I discovered last week from author Leo Buscaglia: “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
How much time do we really want to spend worrying? It has been suggested that chronic worriers learn to break this habit by scheduling a regular “worry time” each day (or several times a week), where they give themselves permission during this set-aside time to focus completely on anything they are worried about. The key is to catch yourself when it’s not “worry time,” and to put it off until you’ve “scheduled” it. This may take some practice, but I know several people who have found this very effective. As time goes by, they begin to realize how much better they feel when they are not constantly worrying. (TIP: Write that worry down and place it in a Worry File, to be addressed during your scheduled Worry Time.) Spending less time worrying frees up your your energy and your mind. That’s why I like another quote I just discovered:
You can’t change YESTERDAY
But you can ruin TODAY
By worrying about TOMORROW.
Do you really want to “ruin today?” That doesn’t sound like much fun either. And, in any moment, each of us has a choice about what we think about. We can choose thoughts (including worry) that drag us down, or we can choose thoughts that lift us up. Again, this takes practice, but the end result can be quite magical. Try it!
In doing some research online about worry, I discovered an amazing website: www.HELPGUIDE.org, “a trusted non-profit resource; expert, ad-free (to) help you resolve health challenges.” In an article there entitled, “How to Stop Worrying,” it states that “chronic worrying is a mental habit that can be broken. You can train your brain to stay calm and look at life from a more positive perspective…. Once you realize that worrying is the problem, not the solution, you can regain control of your worried mind.”
“Drag your thoughts away from your troubles…by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.” –Mark Twain
“Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen.
Keep in the sunlight.” –Ben Franklin
May we each strive to worry less and keep as much as possible in the sunlight.