“Worrying doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow. It empties today of its strength.”
“There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
“Whatever is going to happen, will happen, whether we worry or not.”
Worry, worry, worry. Blah, blah blah.
Everyone seems to be in agreement that worry doesn't really help you. It just seems to drive you a teensy, weensy bit crazy (or some days, maybe a lot crazy).
Everyone seems to say to stop worrying.
But what you don't find is just how to stop worrying.
For a worrier, it's easier said than done to just let it go and let whatever will be, be. To those who don't worry, they just can't put it into words what their secret is to letting things go.
If Worrying Doesn't Help, Why Do You Do It in the First Place?
Worry is one of the biggest stressors there is (hence why we talk about stinking thinking and anxiety on WomenManagingStress.com). Not only does it keep you from living a life full of happiness and savoring each moment that comes along, but it can also rob those closest to you of those same happy moments.
Worrying serves a purpose, otherwise, you wouldn't find yourself doing this over and over and over. When you worry, you feel on top of things and prepared for whatever nasty surprises that may come your way. You can have a plan of action. You won't feel stupid because you had a hunch that something like that could happen. You can have a bit more control when you're prepared.
You do things to prevent panic and worry every day:
- Insurance on your car and home (health, life, boat, malpractice, etc.)
- Fire drills
- Emergency contact info
- Unplugging the iron (OK, I know I'm the only person left in the world who still irons. But still, you don't leave it plugged in do you?)
- Security systems
- Hiding a spare key with a neighbor
See? You're not worried about those things because you have a plan.
So What About the Things Without a Plan?
That's just the thing- for some reason, a switch in your brain is convinced that by worrying, you are in some way creating a plan. You're not caught off guard. You have it on the radar so to speak. The more you think about it, the better, right?
The more you think about it, the more you wire the connections in your brain (aka “synapses”). The more those connections are hard wired, the more that that particular thought becomes the default.
Not convinced that's how it works?
Think about learning to catch a ball. Over and over, you get out in the back yard and learn the timing and movement of your body, so that when a flying object comes hurling your way, you catch it instead of being knocked out.
Or when you were a kid and were learning how to spell your name and what your address was. Over and over your parents and your teachers made you recite that info, through writing it, saying it, and maybe even singing it.
There's a reason why “stop, drop, and roll” and “9-1-1” and driving reflexes are so strong: practice makes perfect!
In order to unwire that connection, you've got to stop thinking that thought over and over. In the next post, I'll share with you some tips to start that process.