Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Worrying About Worrying by Paula
I recently saw an article about the benefits of not worrying. Not worrying has been something I've worried about for several years. I spent many, many years in knots over money, relationships, pregnancy, interior decorating, siblings, unemployment and more. I had entire conversations with myself about how terrible things were and how they were bound to spiral into catastrophic depths. I imagined bankruptcy, death, firestorms and irreversible choices of kitchen paint colors. I would talk myself into any disaster.
Recently, I've realized that what I imagine is usually much worse that what actually happens. In other words, all the energy I wasted playing horrific imaginary scenes in my head, was just that, wasted energy. That energy could of been placed towards actively working to solve my problems, while still enjoying the present moment. I spent hours using energy, creating stress and feeling bad about events that hadn't happened, and probably never would.
What a waste of time! Author, Eckhart Tolle said, "Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose."In fact, worrying creates stress which can manifest itself in many damaging ways. For myself, worrying caused impatience with my children and husband, a constant sense of anxiety, and even health issues like dizziness and tiredness. Worst of all, worrying and stress are the ultimate cause of aging - creating frown lines, crows feet, bad skin and more. All the expensive face creams and anti-aging concoctions in the world can't, suppress the wrinkly results of stress.
Time is what it took to retrain my brain. Shutting off those bad thoughts was a great effort, and continues to be. I exercise my brain, when I feel worried or stress, by forcing myself to focus on the moment and talking myself through whatever I'm worrying about. For example, with three children, I'm always striving to get somewhere on time - school, soccer, music class, etc. When I feel the worry creeping up to choke me, I take deep breathes and remember that everything will be fine. What is, is. Nearly 100% of the time, by the time I arrive to my destination, I feel better, I'm not yelling at my kids, and no one has even noticed that I'm a little late, because they are too.
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