Letting Go of Worry
Are you a WORRYWART? Do you find yourself constantly worrying about something, anything and everything? Whether it is health worries, job worries, money worries or relationship worries?
Do you have trouble going to sleep or staying asleep at night because of all of the worries
racing through your mind? WHY?
Why We Do IT
In our culture, worry is often viewed as a feminine trait and seen as a behavior associated with being female. Not only is it more acceptable in our society for women to worry, but women also tend to internalize their problems, making it easier for them to worry. Furthermore since worry is a type of internal coping, it makes sense that women worry more and uses it as a coping skill. The fact of the matter is that everyone experiences worry to some extent. We do what we do because it is comfortable and familiar, and because it works for us in some weird way. With worry, the purpose it serves is what usually sustains it. Worriers believe they get something from worrying. Some may say worrying may be helpful and give a person a sense of finding a solution; it may help a person feel in control over a certain situation or as a way to protect them. Furthermore worrying is easy to do because it helps us avoid the reality of the moment. However in reality, when a person worries, it does NOT stop bad things from happening.
What is Worry?
“Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere” (Glenn Turner). Many people use worry and concern interchangeably. Both involve thinking and focus on important issues. However the two are distinctly different. Concern is normal and natural. Worry is unhealthy and destructive. Worry is defined as something or someone that causes anxiety, a source of unhappiness and it includes how we feel and think. In other words, worry involves a state of mind and engages our mental process, leading to anxious feelings or an anxious state. Worried thoughts focus on negativity and the “what ifs” in life and keeps us stuck. Worry is the Scarecrow from the movie The Wizard of Oz paralyzed by fear, it is pointless and circles the same problem with no real solution or control over what is happening. Worry keeps the mind in overdrive and the physiological reaction of fight or flight remains. In addition worry impacts every system in the body, by raising blood pressure, cholesterol, increases blood clotting, can cause headaches, back and stomach pain and much more (Mintle,2011).
How to Let Go of Worry
There is no good reason to worry. When we believe worry prepares us for the worst possible outcome, we must realize it does not. When we believe worry helps us avoid a negative outcome, it may be for the moment but not for the long run. For in reality we still have to face the issue involved in the worry. Unfortunately worry does not go away by simply thinking good thoughts. Here are some tips on managing and letting go of worry:
- Distinguish between solvable and unsolvable worries
- Create a “worry period.” Choose a set time and place for worrying. It should be the same every day (e.g. in the living room from 5:00 to 5:20 p.m.) and early enough that it won’t make you anxious right before bedtime. During your worry period, you’re allowed to worry about whatever’s on your mind. The rest of the day, however, is a worry-free zone.
- Learn to accept the fact that everything in life is not concrete. Give up the illusion of control
- Do things that help you relax. Deep breathing, reading, meditation, exercise going out for dinner and movie. If it helps you relax and gets your mind off of those things you can’t control, do it.
~ Megan Dawes