Do you worry? I know a lot of us say we don't, because our belief is to not worry and put all things in God's hands. However, if we are honest, we have to admit that we all worry sometime. One of the things about worry is how sneaky it is. We find ourselves drifting into worry before we even realize it. We could be deep into it, when all of a sudden, if you are like me, you will come to yourself (or, to your senses) and try to put a stop to it.
Worry is fear in disguise: fear of the unknown; fear of the future. It immobilizes those who suffer from it with the fear of "what if" this or that happens. The "what if" scenarios tend to be worse case scenarios, too. No one ever worries that they’ll have too much money or find the love of their lives, or have perfect children. No, worry takes us on the downward spiral to negativity land. Worry will also tire you out because it requires a constant feed of emotional energy and won't easily allow you to switch it off. And, just like any other emotion, it feeds on itself. So when you worry, you then start worrying that you are worrying too much. Worry needs a constant emotional power source or it will die. So we continue to feed it, give in to its life sucking power over our lives. It really stinks and can bring others around us down with it too.
For those of us who are worriers and want to change that behavior, there are some things you can do. First, remember that worrying did not start overnight and it will not go away overnight. Once you accept that, you can begin to make steps toward change.
Some people find it useful to assign a period of time in their day when they will allow themselves to worry over a problem. Then, the rest of the day they can ignore the issue and become productive with positive thinking. They also make the commitment to not add additional problems to worry about.
It also helps to write down what you are worried about and then add to your list the possible actions you can take and the outcomes of each. Just adding more clarity to the situation can help, and it also helps give you some feeling of control over the situation. This process certainly helps if your worry is a concrete one, rather than imaginary. Open up a mind map, pull out a journal or your tablet and start pouring out all your fears and solutions for five minutes. Don't try to solve anything; this is just a brainstorming period, or idea dump.
Once you have all the worries and any solutions that might present themselves out of you, start arranging them in a pattern from left to right so that you can see what options are available to you and which ones offer the greatest damage control for the least effort. It's much easier to go for the low hanging fruit when you are feeling emotionally fragile. However, if you use this pattern, you will find that you can better see your way clear.
Mind maps are easy to use - grab a pen and piece of paper and just start drawing circles to hold ideas and comments, or download one of the excellent, free mind maps for your computer (search Google for mind maps). Whatever way you decide, just do it. I recently learned that thoughts grow in your brain and look like microscopic trees. Negative thoughts, like worry, grow toxic 'trees' in your brain and if you continue to worry, they continue to grow and will produce negative fruit. Wow! How beautifully complex we are made and how important it is to keep ourselves in 'love', on the positive side of your thoughts.
If your worry is something that may or may not happen, or one you can't seem to control, such as a health issue that has no cure, or an impending job loss, then you need to work on acceptance and expectation management. This is where thinking good thoughts and prayer are critical. We’ll discuss these in a later blog.
Remember, worrying is not good for you and you deserve the best! I believe in you and know you can overcome this too!