It seems everywhere we turn, people are worrying. Worrying is part of our human emotional makeup, and there are some conditions and situations where it can serve as a constructive emotion. Such as, motivating you to honor a commitment, meet a deadline, or avoid a dangerous situation.
Worry becomes extremely stressful and destructive when it gets to be a habit. You can recognize that worrying is becoming a habit when you find yourself approaching most of the situations in your life from a fearful perspective. Chronic worrying can drain your energy, cause constant anxiety, paralyze your ability to make decisions, keep you up late at night, and can even make you sick.
Why do we worry?
We worry because we are afraid, but afraid of what? Generally speaking our greatest fear is of the unknown. Usually, it isn’t the actual situations we experience that cause us to feel frightened nearly so much as our fearful anticipation of worse-case scenarios.
Interestingly, if you have adopted worrying as your usual approach to life, not only will you fearfully anticipate negative outcomes – you will also stress about potential positive outcomes. The things we worry about are only limited by our imagination: Fear of the lack of money, and fear of the responsibility that comes with financial success; fear of not being loved, and fear of the vulnerability of loving another; fear of losing a job and fear of staying stuck in a job, and the list goes on and on. You may even convince yourself that worrying is a good thing and that it helps you to solve problems and to prepare for the worst. The problem with this theory is that whatever we focus on creates our reality; thus the saying, Worrying is praying for what you don’t want. Recognizing this helps you to be aware that worrying is the problem, not the solution.
Worrying is a habit that can be healed.
You can train your brain to manage stress in a more healthy way. The following are some questions to ask yourself when you find your energy sinking into dreadful anticipation:
What am I thinking right now? Awareness is the beginning of all healing. You are likely to be surprised at how many times you catch yourself focusing on negative outcomes.
What words am I using to communicate? When you are listening to your own words, do you feel inspired by what you are saying, or do the words you are speaking make you want to crawl under the covers?
Am I in present time? If you are a chronic worrier, you are spending most of your energy focusing on the future. When you realize this, simply affirm, “I choose to be in present time.”
What am I worried about? Sometimes actually making a list of things you are worried about helps to clear your mind so that you do not keep recycling different versions of the same issues.
You may even want to schedule a brief period of time every day to give attention to the things you have on your list of concerns. Embrace your feelings, and give yourself permission to worry about anything you want during this period of time. The important thing is to give this worry period a specific time frame – the rest of the day is in the worry-free zone.
Is this a problem that I can solve? You will most likely discover that many of the things you are worried about are not in your control because they are someone else’s lessons, and not something you can “fix.” On the other hand, if there IS something you can do, be sure to get the problem out of your head and take action on your own ideas.
Can I change my perspective? If you cannot actually solve the problem, you can always change your perception of the issue. In other words, if you have done all you know to do, it is very emotionally healthy to accept what you cannot change. Connecting with a higher spiritual power through prayer and meditation is the most powerful way to let go of our attachment as to how our ego wants something to be solved.
Asking yourself the above questions is a process that takes patience and practice. Be gentle with yourself. In time, you will most likely discover that this exercise will transform your worry habit into a much more loving and effective way to help yourself and others.
Love and Light,