Worry happens to all of us, but there’s a kind of worry that not threatens your success; it is downright dangerous to your health. This is chronic worry, and it makes you ruminate endlessly about anything that might go wrong.
Chronic worry about life’s events won’t change them; it will impair you. It is a tragic misuse of your imagination to worry about awful things that might happen in your future. This insidious form of chronic worry is like a virus of the mind that breeds negativity and powerlessness.
Spiritual teachers label worry a sign of ego, and for good cause: when we worry, we erroneously take responsibility for all the things we worry about. Worriers falsely think they are responsible for it all.
How futile! None of us can worry ourselves well, or worry our way to fat bank accounts, or worry away the problems of the world.
The beloved humorist Erma Bombeck used to say: “Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”
You and I grew up despite the worries of our parents; we explored, failed, experimented and learned how to navigate life by doing, not by worrying. And the same holds true for our loved ones. When you worry about what will become of your child, your parent or your job, you are not helping anybody – least of all yourself. In fact, you are assuming a false sense of responsibility for the choices of another. You may even think that by worrying, you can change events.
The bottom line is this: you are not responsible for the choices of others. Worrying about these things is not an act of faith; it is an act of fear. Author Leo Buscaglia put it this way: “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
Wouldn’t it be a whole lot more practical to focus on the things you CAN do today, instead of worrying about what tomorrow may bring?
The vast majority of things we worry about in life, never happen. Worry is simply the ego’s way of conjuring up worst case scenarios in a futile attempt to prepare for whatever might happen… or not!
Chronic worry will drain your energy, sap your strength and rob you of sleep. Over time, the impact of continuous worry presents as anxiety and a host of physical problems ranging from headaches and sleep disturbances to high blood pressure and mood disorders.
Indeed! If a problem can be solved, there is no need to worry about it. If the problem cannot be solved or it is not your task to solve it, what is the use of worrying about it?
Worrying is a learned response that leads to negativity. Self-responsibility, on the other hand, is a learned response that leads to positivity. And you can to meet life’s challenges with self-responsibility instead of chronic worry.
When facing an actual challenge, you’d do better by following a few clear guidelines before automatically starting to worry about it:
- Is this situation your personal responsibility? If not, let it go!
- If the situation is indeed your responsibility, what’s the worst thing that can happen? Accept the worst-case scenario as your baseline, and then start building a creative solution from there.
- Pay attention to what is needed now. Ask yourself how your wise Higher self would deal with the situation. What can you do about the situation right now? Take responsibility for your life and actions, and make a list of possible things you can do, including getting more facts or information.
- And now, take action in day-tight compartments, as motivational guru Dale Carnegie described present-moment awareness. Do what you can with what you know right now, even if it is only a small step, and let go of worry! Tomorrow may bring additional options and insights to act on, but worrying about it today will not change outcomes.
- Avoid rumination. When you ruminate on a problem, you are not creating solutions; you are feeding the problem instead. To break this negative cycle, you need to disrupt the rumination and reconnect to the present moment every time it happens.
- Remember that you can adapt, create, change and evolve as part of the problem-solving process. If your plan A doesn’t work, keep in mind that the alphabet has 25 more letters!
- And, finally, count your blessings, not your troubles. Remember that whatever you focus on, tends to expand. So focus on the blessings of your life; cultivate an attitude of gratitude for little things that brighten your day, and you will find yourself uplifted.
By consciously choosing how you respond to life’s challenges, you can unlearn the nasty habit of worry and act from your happy place instead.
About the author
©Copyright Ada Porat. For more information, visit http://www.adaporat.com. This article may be freely distributed in whole or in part, provided there is no charge for it and this notice is attached.