While worrying can be helpful, as it can make us actually do something about the problem(s) that exist, it can actually more often than not lead to anxiety. Anxiety kills. It makes us sick, bores holes in our stomachs, and increases the chemicals in our brains and bodies. If you are a worrier, make sure it is in control. If you are the president of the worrywart club you can step down and retrain your brain and have a happier and healthier body.
Here are some helpful hints to step down as president and worry about only the things that are important.
First instead of thinking about the worst case scenario, come up with best cases as well. This won’t delete your worst case, but what about the best case. It is said that we create our own destiny, wouldn’t it be nice to have the best case destiny?
I think about the idea of me getting my daughter onto her bike. I love bike riding, I really miss it in fact. I want her to learn as it will afford her more freedom, more travel flexibility, and who knows she might like it as much as I do. She starts off in the morning with I want to ride with you, so we get dressed, I tell her that a dress is not really appropriate for learning to ride. Then she stomps off and changes into shorts (okay the knees will get scraped but the best teacher in life is pain). Then I get my riding shoes on, she puts on flip flops, guess what, she had to change them (not taking a side trip to the ER). This time instead of changing she goes and does what works for her. She throws a major temper tantrum. If you have taken my parenting class, you know what this means, uh-oh you’re not happy into your room you go until you change your mood. After she does calm down (25 minutes later) she comes out of her room, all smiles and apologetic. Well this worked well on two maybe more levels. One she is worried about riding her bike because it is a bigger bike. She doesn’t feel safe yet. She is worried she will fall off, or worse her neighbor friends might laugh at her. See this went from having courage to ride her bike to a list of all the things that could go wrong. The other was she got away without having to do something else than ride a bike, such as cleaning her room.
Another way is to lower expectations. We all get a vision in our head of what perfect looks like. We all want people to love us, we all want life to be fair, we all want the money in our savings account to actually gain interest. But unfortunately, life is unfair, some people will just not like you, the car always breaks down as soon as you are able to save a little bit of money. By lowering our expectations to a reasonable level we can worry less. If you know that not all people are going to like you then this is great news, that means you don’t have to like everyone in return (no don’t be mean), you have less gifts to give, and most of all you will have time to yourself, but also you don’t have to worry about whether or not they will like you. Stuff breaks, the more stuff the more stuff that breaks. Things aren’t made like they used to be, therefore they won’t last as long either. Be kinder to yourself. Aswabi-sabi (beauty is imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete)
When the kids leave the house for college or a job or gap year, don’t worry. You did a fine job at raising them. You had eighteen years to teach them how to live life. They will fall down, they will get hurt, but please remember pain is the greatest teacher. Don’t rescue as this will lead to worry, lend a hand, help them up, and follow their lead. You worrying will not save them from mistakes, but it might keep them from succeeding. So let them have a great time, and you have fun too, you deserve a vacation, you earned it!
Being angry is a fine emotion, it is very useful, but too much can lead to more worry. You lose control of your emotions and your surroundings. People begin to fear you and resent you. So get to the root of the anger and move from there.
Guilt is the leading cause of anxiety. Use it to keep your own moral compass honed in on where you want to be. Don’t use it as a weapon. When you do this it becomes a problem that you and the accusee have to deal with. Instead forgive, (this don’t not mean forget) and move on with a new lesson in your pocket. Then we need to look at how we use the shoulds, woulds, and coulds, These are distorted thought processes and do nothing but create worry.
Finally, don’t blame yourself or others when things go the wrong way. Just fix it. Sometimes just addressing the worry is enough to move on and do something about it. Maybe if you share what you are worried about the worry will be gone. You can perhaps brainstorm a way to solve the problem. Show gratitude as often as possible. Thus eliminating the worry.
If you want to learn to get your anxiety under control call me 484-515-6125 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org
Shannon Shadman, LPC, MSMHC, NCC, M.Ed.