Posted on Mar 1st, 2006

“To feel or express great care or anxiety” is how the dictionary defines worry. We all worry about something it seems and it is rare for someone to say they have no worries at all. We worry about money, health, friends, family, exams, relationships, vehicles, weather, body size, what we eat, safety issues and the list goes on and on. There are those who worry incessantly about everything and this raises the stress level and steals the joy from their life. It has been said that worry is akin to the back and forth motion of a rocking chair. You experience movement, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. Worry never makes anything better. As a matter of fact, worrying can exacerbate a problem to the point that it takes over your mind. Many years ago I gave my wonderful Mom a card about worry. I wish I knew who wrote this, as it is very sage advice, but it was signed anonymous.

“There are two days in every week about which we should not worry. One is yesterday with its mistakes and cares, its aches and pains. Yesterday has passed forever beyond our control. The other day is tomorrow, with its possible adversities and blunders. Until its sun rises we have no stake in tomorrow for it is yet unborn. That leaves only one day. Today. Anyone can fight the battle of just one day. It is only when we add the burden of those two awful eternities, Yesterday and Tomorrow; that contentment will escape us.”

Are you a worrier? Worry is just another form of stress. Are you stealing the joy from your day by worrying about something that hasn’t happened yet? Think back to other things you worried about and you’ll realize that 99% of them didn’t happen. You unknowingly allowed worries to take over your mind and take away potential happiness. Worry increased your stress level for that day, or even weeks and months, depending on what it was you were worried about. I love the idea that we have control over who or what we rent the space in our heads to. Worry can and does also interfere with sleep, which can then go on to negatively impact our overall health. So it is very important to learn how to deal with it.

There are things you can do. You can keep a worry log. Observe what it is you are worried about. Note the time of day you tend to worry about it. Ask yourself these questions. Does anything trigger the worry? How worried are you? Rate it from 1 – 5; with 1 being not very worried and 5 being extremely worried. Then ask yourself if this is something you can change? If it is, then try to problem solve. Ask your family and friends to help you brainstorm solutions. If it is something you can’t change, then consciously let it go. If your brain continues to want to worry about it, simply say the word “stop” out loud every time you tune in to it. Using your Worry Log, you can train yourself to become more aware of when you are worrying and stop it in its tracks. Worry is a habit – and like any habit it can be corrected. So, you have to become a “smarter worrier” – and eliminate 90% of your worry. It is unrealistic to say that we can eliminate worry completely. I don’t think that is humanly possible. In order to help yourself eliminate some of the daily stressors in your life, try to focus on today only. Do not dwell on the past and try not to jump ahead to the future. The only reality is today. Make sure you enjoy every minute of it. Remember what the song says, “Don’t worry, be happy”.

Carole Fawcett

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