How often do you catch yourself worrying?
When I was a kid my mom used to say to me, “95% of what you worry about never happens.” I think she recognized that I was the “worrying type” and was trying to help ease my mind. Although this rarely worked, I appreciated her sentiment and know now that she was right.
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been prone to worrying. I continue to work on this, let it go, forgive myself for it, and choose different ways of being in the face of my fear. And, I still catch myself worrying more than I’d like – about the future, about my body, about how things will turn out, about what people think about me, about money, about the well-being of my loved ones, about the state of the world, and much more.
However, no matter how much we worry, it never really helps. And, as we look deeper at what worrying actually is – a set-up for failure, a negative attractor, and a denial or avoidance of feeling our true feelings – we see that it can have a damaging impact on our lives, our work, and our relationships. When we worry, we’re simply preparing to be upset or angry – assuming something won’t work out in the future.
Worry not only creates stress, it has an impact (usually negative) on what we create and manifest, and on our experience of life in general. Worry is a superficial emotion. It’s clearly something that many of us are all familiar with, can share with others in a way that will garner sympathy, empathy, or even pity, and is easy for us to go through daily life experiencing. However, underneath our worry are usually deeper emotions like shame, fear, guilt, hurt, or anger; many of which are more difficult for us to feel and express.
If we’re able to tell the truth and face our deeper feelings, we won’t have to waste our time and energy worrying. We can then deal with the root of the issue, not the superficial impact of it (which is what worry usually is).
There’s nothing wrong with feeling scared, angry, hurt, and even “worried,” in and of itself. These emotions, like love, gratitude, excitement, joy, and others are very important to our human experience. Emotions that are felt deeply and expressed appropriately give us power (regardless of what they are). Emotions that are not felt deeply, that are denied or avoided, and are not effectively expressed, can be damaging to us and those around us.
Worry is always a sign that there are some deeper feelings or issues for us to address. It’s often a good reminder for us to get more real, take better care of ourselves, and pay attention.
Below is a list of some things you can do when you get worried. These simple ideas can help you move through your worry in a positive way:
1. When you notice yourself worrying; stop, check in with yourself, and take a few slow deep breaths (all the way down to your belly)
2. Ask yourself, what’s underneath my worry? (i.e. why am I really worried and what am I really feeling?)
3. Face, feel, and express these underlying emotions – get support from others in this process if you need it.
4. Once you have felt and expressed these emotions, choose how you want to feel and what you want to create, instead of playing the role of the victim.
5. Appreciate yourself for the courage it takes to be honest and to deal with the challenging situations or emotions you’re experiencing.
6. Focus on the good stuff in your life (i.e. be grateful for what you have, who you are, and what you’re going through)
7. Be of service to others – generously put your attention on those around you who can benefit from your help. It will be a great gift to them and to you. Service can allow you to shift your attention from your worry to what you have to give, which is a true win-win for everyone involved.