Today I’m continuing with the A-Z Blogging Challenge. I’m doing an A-Z of human emotions, feelings and mental states and today is the letter W and so I’ve decided to write about worry.
I used to be a worrier. I spent a lot of time worrying about possible future consequences that may never happen, and it used to keep me awake thinking about the worst possible scenario. Now I try to focus on the present and not worry too much of the future. Worrying does have some benefits- it does prepare you for the worst so that if something does go one at last you’ve thought through your options. You’re more likely to take a rational approach to problem solving if you’re a worrier rather than diving straight in, which might minimise your chances of failure.
But excess worrying can have a big impact on your life, making it difficult to enjoy anything because you’re too worried about what might go wrong. This can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, you might be so worried that your partner will leave you for someone else that you become paranoid and keep checking their phone and constantly asking them where they are and who they are with. Eventually they are likely to get fed up of this and do the very thing that you feared: leave you for someone less clingy. Another problem that I (and probably many artists and writers) have faced is that I sometimes worry so much about the quality of my work that I never get any work done. I’m so worried that what I write will turn out rubbish that I don’t write anything, and then of course the lack of practice makes my writing poor. So worrying too much about things is certainly not a good idea.
Like most things, we should be finding a balance. If you’re prone to worrying, allow yourself only a small amount of time, say ten minutes, to fully concentrate on your worries, and don’t allow yourself to think about them the rest of the day. During this time you could write them down on a piece of paper and then number them from 1-10 in order of how serious the worry is. Take a look at each of the worries in turn: is it valid? Do you have genuine reason to be worried? How likely is it that the bad consequence you imagine will come true? You will probably find that some of your worries seem sillier once you analyse them. For the more serious ones, think up a brief solution. If you’re worried about your finances, for example, write a quick action plan involving speaking to your bank manager, cutting up your credit cards, applying for another part-time job etc. If you’ve thought about ways you can overcome your problems they will seem less worriesome. When you’re done worrying, make sure you don’t think about them again all day. Wear an elastic band around your wrist and when you start worrying, snap it. This method of conditioning will eventually stop you from worrying throughout the day and you will learn to keep it to it’s time and place.
Another thing you can do to reduce your stress are make sure you get a good night’s sleep. If worries keep you awake at night try reading, using herbal supplements, making sure your bedroom is cool, drinking milky drinks and avoiding caffiene and alcohol. Talk to your doctor if it becomes a long-term problem. Talking to other people also helps- it’s true that a problem shared is a problem halved. Other people can help you put your worries into perspective and offer constructive solutions.
In the end, life’s too short to worry about anything and everything-sometimes you have to let go of your fears and take risks. Otherwise you might end up like Terry Jones here..