RBC I Worrying is often an automatic response when you are facing problems, dilemmas, or uncertainty. Constant worrying creates physical and mental problems without providing any benefits. Worrying is like being in a rocking chair. It’s a lot of activity that doesn’t get you anywhere.
Since worrying doesn’t accomplish anything, why do it?
Worry, if not an innate emotion, is certainly a learned habit. Since you grow up watching everyone around you worrying, you worry also. Letting go of worry is doable.
Constant vigilance is required to break this detrimental habit. Once you stop worrying, you will feel a great relief and become much calmer and relaxed. Additionally, as you reduce your worry, you will find you are able to more readily take positive action and attract desirable circumstances.
People worry about both the past and the future. You may find yourself worrying about what you could of, should of, or would have done in the past. Thoughts of “If only I had done …” bogs you down in an endless worry cycle. There’s absolutely nothing you can do about events that have transpired. The clock can’t be turned back. All you can do is learn from your mistakes. Worrying about the past is inane.
You will also worry about what might happen in the future. You will conjure up virtually all variations of what-ifs. Your worries might even include circumstances completely beyond your control, such as the weather. Worrying about the future creates mental monsters about everything that might possibly go wrong.
Worrying serves no purpose.
There are absolutely no positive aspects of worrying. Since worry is a learned habit, you can also learn to vanquish worry. The less you worry, the better you will feel. Action defeats worry, inaction feeds it.
There is a difference between worry and analysis. Worry is passive. Analysis enables you to evaluate various options in preparation for taking action. Effective analysis can be accomplished by answering the following four questions.
1) What is the problem, dilemma, issue or obstacle you are facing? This identification is essential if you are going to formulate a plan to deal with it. It’s helpful to take a step back away from your situation in order to answer this question. The more objective you can be, the better.
2) What is the cause of the problem? Until you understand the cause, all you are dealing with are symptoms. Addressing only symptoms ignores the problem and yields temporary relief at best. The actual cause of a problem can be elusive. It may take several attempts to uncover it.
3) What are all possible solutions? If the cause of the problem is out of your control (such as the weather), all you can do is compile a list of strategies to deal with it. When you do have control or influence over the source of the problem, develop a list of all options for handling it. Don’t evaluate any of the choices. Formulate as many as you can.
4) What is the best solution? Weigh all of the facts, evaluate all options, make the best decision possible, and then take action. This is all you can do. Being proactive is one of the most effective ways of combating worry.
Utilize this approach whenever you catch yourself worrying. The serenity poem is worth repeating regularly:
“Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; the courage to change the things I can; and the wisdom to know the difference.”
By using this strategy to eliminate most, or hopefully all, of your worries, you will experience more tranquility than you are used to. Start with minor worries and work your way up to the major ones. Keep at it until it becomes your new automatic response.
Bryan is the author of “Dare to Live Without Limits.” Contact Bryan at Bryan@columnist.com.