What is the one thing that most people have in common these days? We do it a lot…and when I say a lot… I mean a lot! It is worrying. Some people worry so much that they would worry if they had nothing to worry about. It has become an art form. Worrying is now part of your 5 a day. If you do not have 5 things to worry about them there must be something wrong with you.
What is worrying…
Worrying is the fear that something might happen before it happens… the feeling of impending danger and not being able to cope. It’s like walking around with an umbrella waiting for it to rain. Worry comes from a malfunction off the emotion fear. Fear is linked to our fight flight mechanism and when working well, gets us out of harm’s way. Worrying is a blip in the flight path. So instead of dealing with the problem as the problem arises. Worrying causes us to fixate and ruminate on the problem again and again as if we were in the movie Groundhog Day. In Groundhog Day the main character, played by Bill Murray must relive the same day over and over again until figures out the key to his life. In essence worrying is a defence mechanism to shield us from and guard us against events that may happen… but have not yet happened and may never happen.
Worrying is madness…
Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair…it gives you something to do but it takes you nowhere. In all my years as a psycho therapist no one has ever said to me that the way they solved all their problems was by worrying.
How can fixating on a problem make it better?
-We think that if we don’t worry and something goes wrong then it will be our fault for not taking the matter seriously enough.
-We think that by obsessing hard enough we can actually control the future.
-We think that anticipating the worst is a good way of investing our time and energy.
Worrying is an absolute waste of time and energy and ultimately waste your life. Worry gives you a shitty live and an early funeral if you’re not careful.
Worrying and the body…
The act of worrying places a lot of stress on the body. It causes the body to go into a state of ‘orange’ alert…a sort of ‘mild’ panic. Now if that sounds like a contradiction in terms…it is! So image the pressure we put on our bodies to maintain this unnatural state. Our bodies are amazing. It is brilliantly efficient. Millions upon millions of cells conspiring together every second of the day to keep you going. Worrying puts the body in a state of confusion it doesn’t know whether it is coming or it is going.
This is because the body is working overtime to deal with the stress that worrying causes. Your body is pumping all sorts of chemicals into you for no apparent reason other than the fact that you are worrying about something that hasn’t happened. These chemicals include cortisone, thyroid hormones, sugar and insulin, cholesterol and adrenalin. Worrying is a huge tax on the body and can leave us exhausted. It can causes physical problems like headaches and insomnia. It can cause behavioural problems like irritability, anxiety attacks, and lack of humour, difficulty in making decisions, and difficulty in concentrating. Excessive worrying is one of the components of stress and lead to all sorts of stress related illness such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic indigestion, colitis not to mention mental illnesses.
Mildred is 45 years old and has worried for at least 5 hours a day for 25 years of her life. She started to worry at University and hasn’t look back ever since.
Question: If you added up all the hours that Mildred has worried over the past 25 years…how long has Mildred has been worrying? Think about how many years you have devoted to worrying and ask yourself how if it got you anywhere.
You have been training your mind to worry for years. The operative word in the last sentence is ‘training’. If you have trained yourself to be a worrier then you can ‘uncouple’ yourself from worrying… you can train yourself not to worry. You must have started to worry somehow and for some reason. What was the reason?
Awareness is the first stage to growth and personal development and once you realise that worrying serves no purpose whatsoever decide to put worrying down. Just as you wouldn’t walk around with an empty glass all day… when things have served their purpose…you put them down.
-My therapy school teacher would say if you take something away then you need to put something back. In order to stop worrying successful you will need to fill the space in your life that not worrying will create. Take up a hobby, learn a skill. Help out with a charity. Doing stuff and staying really busy stops worry taking a hold of you.
-Live in the here and now. Predicting the future is not your job. Your job is to live now. Because you can never be in the future. That is why it is called the future. By the time the future that you are worried about arrives it will be the now and it will bring with it a whole new set of circumstances. The truth of the matter is that none of us know if we will be around next week. The future is not guaranteed so we need to be enjoying every moment of our lives.
-The most important ingredient that you need in order to stop worrying is faith. You need to have faith that things will turn out not as you would like it to be but how it is meant to be. You need to believe in yourself and your ability to deal with life as it unfolds. You have solved problems in the past with your resilience, courage and determination and, you can do it again. Worrying does not solve problems. You do!
-Develop strategies to deal with your worrying ways. Ask yourself if the issue is within or outside of your control. If it is inside your control….deal with it! If it is outside of your control… let it go! If you are an advanced worrier then you will have to wean yourself off worrying. Decide to have a worry period in the day were you can worry for the world and his dog. If you decide to worry for 2 hours then worry for 2 hours and then put worrying down. The idea is to make your worry period less and less as time goes by.
Finally worrying is a misuse of your brilliant imagination. If your track record is anything to go by you can deal with anything that comes your way. Why? Because you are here! So in the words of the late great Bob Marley… Don’t worry about a thing cause everything thing gonna be