The Wasted Lives of 'Worry Warts'

Do you worry about things over which you have no control?  Perhaps you think that if you “worry enough”, you can prevent bad things from happening.  Unfortunately, worry, if left to run rampant, can lead to anxiety and physical illness.

Many parents lay awake waiting for their children to come home at night — fortunately for most of us, they came home without incident. You may be waiting for lab results from the doctor and potentially worrying about a disease you may not have.

Hopefully, if you have been reading these articles for a while, you have taken some preventative action but there are still no guarantees. The uncertainty of life is a neutral ground, but many worriers equate uncertainty with bad outcomes. If uncertainty were to create optimistic thoughts of what could be (with a positive twist), we could retrain ourselves and prevent wasting time in a negative place.

But how can you change and control these thoughts? It is through conscious choice and practice. Every time you begin to dwell on a negative “what if?” just say to yourself, “cancel that” and rephrase the thought to have a positive outcome.  For example, you are about to take a trip and are afraid to fly for fear of a plane crash. Rather than fearing the flight, cancel that thought and see yourself arriving safely at your destination. I can assure you it will take a bit of practice, but your emotional and physical well being deserve it. Once you objectively look at the facts, you are likely to worry less or at least surrender to the things over which we have no control.

My 21-year-old daughter is volunteering over in Thailand. She picked the organization and went by herself. For any of you who are not up on current events, Bangkok has seen the worst flooding in over fifty years.  Imagine your daughter, 5’1” and 110 pounds, on the other side of the planet helping others in conditions we are not likely to see in a lifetime. Yes, I worry, but ultimately I know I have to trust that all will be well and she will come back with new wisdom and insights most likely to help mold the beautiful woman she is becoming.

Regardless your religious beliefs, I am sure that the large majority of you believe in God. Most would agree that we are not alone, that prayers do work, and there is something so reassuring about the reality that we are not in this life alone. Those with a strong faith are not likely to be worriers as they ultimately know God has their back.

If you kept a log of all the things you have worried about over the course of your life, besides having a few good laughs — you are likely to realize that most of what your worried about ended up not worthy of the time and effort you put in to it. Think of worry as a large storm cloud blocking the warm and beautiful rays of sun, wouldn’t you rather bask in the light?


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