Worry is normal, common and can be what it is, a passing emotion,and cause no harm. However, for many of us, worry feeds anxiety, which adds onto our stress, ad nauseum. It’s so easy to say, “don’t worry,” but it’s much harder to actually stop worrying.
Two things are wrong with the phrase. For one, it doesn’t tell you how to stop worrying, and it doesn’t tell you what to do instead of worry.
Worry can become a habit. Sometimes a person can feel quite guilty if something untoward takes place they don’t worry. Worry can mistakenly appear as a palliative for an ill, or a preventive.
I’ve known people who worry about situations before anything bad happens, and those situations certainly are not akin to going mountain climbing and fretting over falling. Worry by its nature is unproductive, so why do we do it? If there were a logical reason that I could define, I’d do so.
We fret because we’re human and we feel an intense need to control our own destiny. We feel compelled to control the outcomes of events so that we won’t suffer. Perhaps we’ve seen a pattern in our behaviours or the behaviours of others that we think are sure signs of catastrophe—and maybe they are.
However, we must take the emotion out of the habit of worry and pair it consistently with rational thought. I’m not killjoy here. I know many emotions can’t be totally avoided, and there are a great lot of them we wouldn’t want to miss.
Remember the “worry journal” exercise. Don’t forget to practice that exercise. Laptop, pen and paper, even your finger in the sand. Write down your worry. Write down what you can do about it, and then let it go.
More on letting go
Sometimes you have to actually dismiss a thought or series of thoughts from your mind. Ah, I know. That’s difficult.
Worry is like a morbid curiosity to gawk at a car accident. Nothing good can come of it, but there is an imp of the perverse in all of us that desires to see how awful things can get.
As human beings, we have fertile minds for awfulness! Try shifting some of your brain power to the simple act of letting go the bad feeling of worry.