YOU SHOULD WORRY ABOUT your school work.
You should worry about your career.
You should worry about your finances.
You should worry about your future...
We’re are taught it from an early age, so is it any surprise that so many of us end up born worriers?
A concern about something that threatens to bring bad news or results; making a person feel anxious, unhappy, or afraid.
Problem solving or misusing your imagination
First there is worrying, or more accurately, ‘problem solving’. When faced with a problem, a certain amount of worrying about it can be a good thing. It makes use of that most powerful human asset – the imagination – to consider various ideas and options before arriving at the best solution. That’s good purposeful worrying.
Then there’s worrying for the sake of worrying. Worrying about what might be. Worrying about things in the future that probably will never happen. Things that are so far off that there’s no realistic way to even begin to envisage and plan for them. That’s misusing your imagination.
Imagine what it’s like to gaze at a distant horizon...
You see the hazy silhouette of trees and buildings, but can’t quite make out any detail. The more you wonder what’s over there, the more possible possibilities spring to mind.
Worrying about future problems is like that too. When a problem is too far away, it’s hard to see it clearly. So it’s pointless worrying about it until it becomes closer, then you can easily see what needs to be done. And just like those fluffy white clouds in a blue summer’s sky, most of those worries will just evaporate and fade away before they ever arrive.
You can use this idea as a little exercise to help you stop worrying.
The world is huge
The world is such a huge and complicated place, and when a person starts worrying into the future, the possibilities become endless. And being a natural worrier, I bet you only dwell on the most catastrophic outcomes; don’t you!
What started as one fairly minor issue can easily throw up ten more vaguely possible what ifs, and while pondering those, up pop another ten!
It all becomes overwhelming, and the problem gets filed away under ‘hopeless and impossible’, adding to that background stress level that can simmer away, leaving a person feeling anxious and on edge for no very good reason.
Worry can easily turn into anxiety, and when it does it inhibits a person’s natural problem solving abilities. They start to focus more on the object of their anxiety – the problem itself – and less on finding solutions.
Anxiety starts to engage ‘survival mode’ – the fight or flight response, or panic – and creative thinking is switched off. After all, in a genuinely dangerous situation you wouldn’t want your mind wandering and getting all creative!
Take full control of all the things you can control while learning to let go of all the things that you can’t.
Something that really helps you cope better with worrying is self hypnosis because it helps you feel more comfortable with the idea of uncertainty. It won’t necessarily solve the problem, but it does help you take a step back so you can see it more objectively. This in itself is often enough to for you to begin to see a solution.
Simply listening to something like this Stop Worrying download can help you feel more at ease with the notion of; “I’ve done all I can for now. Whatever happens next, I know I’ll be able to handle it when the time arrives.”
The worry chair
I once knew a very wise lady who had a very special chair. She called it her ‘worry chair’.
She would set aside a time each day to do her worrying, then whenever one of those nagging thoughts popped into her head and interrupted what she was doing, she would say to that thought, “Thank you for bringing this to my attention; however, I’m a little busy right now. I’ll give it some thought at [allotted worry time] so you don’t need to remind me about it again until then.” Then she would imagine putting the thought into a little box and sending it whizzing off into the distance.
At that special ‘worry time’ she would go and sit in her worry chair and give the problem some serious thought, but only for a set time – say 20 minutes. If she found a solution, she was happy. If not, she simply said to the thought, “Thanks again for reminding me about that,” because the thought did have a positive intention; “however, I’ve given it some consideration and I cannot solve it at the moment. The outcome is just too far into the future to see it clearly, and I don’t have enough information at this time. So you don’t need to remind me about it again unless you have something new and useful to add,” at which point she put the thought back into it's little box and sent it whizzing off into the distance.
Getting up from the worry chair, she continued with the rest of her day.
Doing this prevents the problem from overwhelming your thoughts; keeping it in perspective and giving you the very best chance of solving it satisfactorily.
Everybody needs time out from their problems. That way they return to them refreshed; often seeing new possibilities they couldn’t see before.
One last thought...
Next time you sit down to cogitate; why not arm yourself with a good book to ponder instead?
What do you want to do now
All the worrying in the world won’t change a thing.
Anxiety & Phobia Workbook
Edmund J. Bourne
The mastery of anxiety and phobias.
Latest (5th) edition of this classic best seller; The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook has already helped over one million readers make a full and lasting recovery from:
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Social anxiety
- Specific phobias
- Panic attacks
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Other anxiety-related issues
Packed with the most effective skills for treating anxiety, this workbook can be used alone or as a supplement to therapy; helping you develop a full set of skills for quieting worried thoughts and putting yourself back in control.
Each worksheet will help you learn the skills you need to manage your anxiety and start living more freely than you ever thought possible.