Don’t Worry!

It was one of those dull, gray Monday mornings earlier this week when I was sitting in my doctor’s office being administered a medication via IV for several hours.  Unfortunately, I had neglected to find a good book to accompany me on this boring morning in a cold, geriatric environment.

Therefore, I had a lot of time to think.

Without anything available to distract me, worries pushed themselves to the forefront of my mind:  Health concerns, financial challenges, and the ultimate anxiety-provoking question- Am I a good enough parent?

I thumbed through the pop-culture magazines in a nearby rack, however the latest Hollywood gossip couldn’t quite capture my attention.  As the bubbles of medication continued to drip through the catheter, I tried to catch a few zzz’s, but the nurse kept checking my vitals every thirty minutes, thus sleep seemed to be a pretty futile pursuit.

So, I grabbed a pen to jot down a couple of thoughts- polished them up a bit, and here they are!

If you expend quite a bit of energy on excessive worry, read on!  If you don’t, pat yourself on the back, and share your tips below!

From the moment we bring our baby home from the hospital, and place our hand over his angelic face to check on his breathing, parental worry begins.

We worry when they learn to ride a bike, start rollerblading around the neighborhood, and take driving lessons.  We have all experienced the heart-stopping anxiety when we nearly lost our child in a busy shopping center.  Every cough and each fever is yet another reason for deep fear and endless worry.

The holidays are a terrific time for additional worry; too much sugar, not enough sleep, too many parties, and video-game addictions!

Here a few tried-and-true tips to eliminate the majority of your worries:

1)  Recognize that some problems are out of your sphere of influence.

If you can do nothing about a specific problem, then it is no longer a problem, it is a ‘situation’.  When you refer to something as a ‘problem’, you are implying that a solution is possible.

The best example is the weather.

Why lie awake worrying about a party that is scheduled for the same evening as the snow storm?  Assuming that you have made all reasonable arrangements, know that further worry about the climate can only aggravate yourself and your loved ones!

2)  Accept that the human condition is such that problems are a part of life.

We have all met people who will be happy as soon as this circumstance has changed or that situation has ended.

Understand that your job is to solve problems to the best of your ability, and to learn to live with the unsolvable ones!  The ‘Serenity Prayer’ comes to mind:

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

3)  Let the bygones be bygones.

Look at life like as an hourglass.  The sand at the top is the future, and the sand at the bottom represents the past.  The tiny point in the middle- where the sand is currently passing- is the present.

We can learn from the past, yet we can never change it.  “I should have, I could have” thoughts promote stress about an impossible feat- changing the actions of the past.  The energy that is utilized by reliving old mistakes can drain us of the energy which is necessary to be applied to the present time.

4)  Don’t create “self-fulfilling prophecies” with needless worrying.  It is possible to bring about certain situations by thinking and obsessing about them.

You may start to read nonexistent meaning into certain situations and have your confidence plummet by imagining the worst scenario over and over again.

Replace the negative “what if” thought with a new hobby, plans for an upcoming party, or anything which requires your intense concentration.  You can’t think about two diverse subjects at the same time, so the solution is to find a replacement thought, rather that to attempt to vanquish the “what if” worry on its own.

A final parting thought:  Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow; it only saps today of its strength.

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  1. I must say I have not read many of your newsletters, as lifes busy pace gets the better of me. How grateful I was to take a moment to read your thoughts and the comments of others.
    Thank you Ellen, for your gift of sharing. Sometimes lifes struggles seem overwhelming, it is humbling and comforting to remember we are not alone.
    Thank you, so much.