15 May 2019
Let’s talk about our worries. We all worry so much about so many things. According to Carl Richards, this probably dates back to our ancestors’ cave-dwelling days. Back then, we worried about the possible saber-toothed tiger in the brush, and that might well have saved your life.
Worrying has become a habit of the human race, and habits can be very hard to break. We still worry – even though for the vast majority of us, there is almost certainly nothing actually lurking out there that will kill us.
But we do worry – about our children, our relationships, the security of our homes and our jobs. We worry about retirement – will we have enough money?
Sometimes we worry over things that are no more than potential inconveniences.
But, is it useful to worry? Considering that:
Most of the things we worry about aren’t going to happen, and
If they do happen, worrying will not have helped.
So, going back to the cave, how did we get into this “worry-groove?” The “groove” probably felt something like I feel when my running is going well. I feel I’m in my own groove – the rhythm, the pace, and I are almost one with my feet and my path.
But a groove can turn into a rut. When we worry, are we really doing more than spinning our wheels in a muddy rut? We gain no traction on the potential solution that way.
When we feel stuck in a worry-rut, we might want to ask ourselves three questions:
What is the worst thing that can happen? If you are, in fact, facing imminent death, grievous injury, or financial ruin, by all means, worry. If not, then, don’t.
When I worried about this in the past, did it actually help? The answer to this question is, almost invariably, a resounding “no!” So, why spend time and mental energy on what you know won’t help?
Is this a “now” problem or a “then” problem? Are you projecting a future potential problem onto the present? As in, “I can’t find my wallet – someone must have stolen it!” and the resulting worry over identity theft. By the time you find your wallet in your briefcase instead of the pocket you thought it was in, how much focus and energy have you given a “then” problem that never materialized?
Maybe having a little worry-groove is healthy – it was for our ancestors, after all. But getting stuck in a worry rut is not – nor is it an effective way to address problems, potential or real. Instead, let’s put the energy we can free up by not worrying into solutions regarding our work, our families, our leisure. Things that are real, and that matter to us.
Those are the things we worry about protecting – let’s nurture them in a positive way, not a negative one.
How do you deal with worry? Please click here to email me directly – I would love to know what works for you.