Ever think you worry too much?
I worry a lot. I do. I even worry about worrying. Sometimes I give myself a break from worry and just overthink things. I go over everything in my mind until I think I’ve come up with a solution.
Then there’s worrying about other people. Loved ones. Where the mere act of worrying (in my mind) somehow protects them. Don’t even ask me to explain that one.
With all this worry, what I do know is this. Anxiety and fear don’t take any of us to a place of serenity, calm or peace.
So, perhaps it’s time to take action and be done with worry—just a little.
To worry is to be human.
For me, worry comes naturally; maybe it does for you too. We all have our level of engagement with anxiety.
But before it becomes something more chronic as it’s apt to do, is it possible and timely to cut loose the umbilical cord to worry?
A few years back I gave up sugar. Surely, I can give up something that is just as harmful to my health?
Somehow I’ve tricked myself and my mind into thinking worry solves problems. In my more logical and sensible moments, I know it doesn’t. If anything, it creates more problems. It doesn’t save people from harm. It doesn’t make people love or like us more. It doesn’t spare us from the wrongs of the past, nor does it assure our future.
But what it does do is, block our creative lives, and the blossoming of relationships, And, guess what? It’s ageing.
Worry, even when thinly veiled as something closer to “concern” is still worrying none the less and is rarely helpful.
Of course, as it’s human to worry, we can safely say, it’s inevitable and to a degree natural. Left unchecked worry has the potential to become chronic and leads to sleeplessness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, muscle tension, a furrowed brow, fatigue and stress. And, too much pressure ruins our lives and leads to physical health issues. It harms us in more ways than we should ever allow. So, are there some aspects of life we can worry about just a little less?
So what can we change? Or, perhaps it would be better to ponder, what can we accept in life that we just cannot change.
There never seems to be enough of it. Too much to do, too many emails to answer, too many phone calls to return. Projects on the boil, deadlines to meet and other people to manage and on it goes. It can be harrowing, and if you add a sense of worry to the mix? Not getting everything done on time or well enough, along with being too hard on ourselves, and imposing impossible standards on others is a recipe for disaster.
The solution? Well, modern living dictates a certain level of engagement. Some of our busyness may be inevitable, so perhaps the least we can do is manage our expectations of ourselves and others.
In the words of the COO of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg?
Done is better than perfect.
As a bit of a perfectionist, I struggle to agree, but for the sake of sanity, it’s time to relax our furrowed brows and remind ourselves that sometimes getting it done is indeed better than perfect.
We are striving for perfection.
Many of us, especially women, strive to be perfect. Relentlessly. It can be a proud feeling. The accomplishment and feeling of a job well done. I know, I do it. But let’s try to ease up a bit. Cut ourselves some slack. Perfection does not make you or your life better; you will not be loved more or garner more respect or success. It just creates an unrealistic ideal that others will have difficulty living up to. Not to mention, it’s exhausting! Sometimes, it helps to enlist the support of others. Let it go. See what happens. It may not be up to your standard. But does it matter? I don’t think it does.
Your children, your family.
Okay, so this one is huge for me. My misguided and strange belief that on some metaphysical level that if I, not only worry about them but verbally express my worry for them can somehow protect them from harm is at best, cute. But really, at worst. Annoying.
While showing people how much you care about them is a good thing, and fosters loving relationships, excessive worry drives people away. It’s just irritating. If it’s your kids, you’re worried about, as hard as it is to let go, letting them out into the world will keep them closer.
I grew up with a mother that loved unconditionally, but she also worried unconditionally, did it help me? Did it protect me? No. It instils irrational fear. The implications of this kind of parental worry are never fully understood until much later in our lives.
We all blossom with love, but smother someone with worry?
Finding a way to trust in the knowledge that most of the time, everything, including your kids, will turn out just fine will go a long way in easing your anxiety. Hey, if it doesn’t, well, your worry didn’t prevent anything. Active communication and awareness? Sure. Worry? Not so much.
I’ve learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.
How many nights have you spent ruminating over the past? Too many, I bet. How many sleepless nights pondering, you should’ve said this, you could’ve handled it better or, if only you’d acted this way or that, maybe you’d still be married, in love, employed… and on it goes.
Did it help? While an appraisal of past events is a good idea; beating ourselves up does not help. Instead, what did you learn? What gifts or blessings in disguise can you bring with you from the past into your future? Life is a series of sliding doors is it not?
We can’t control the future, no matter what plans we put in place. But we can develop resilience and courage.
After my mother died in 2013, my worry intensified, especially for what the future would hold. Why? Her life force had given my life its centre, its balance. I don’t think I ever fully understood that until she was gone. Loss can redefine you, and sometimes if you’re lucky, correct your path. Of course, during times of grief it doesn’t always feel this way, decisions become clouded by pain and worry, but eventually, at least for me, what’s left behind is gratitude for the beautiful memories that guided me as I began to look forward. Everything, for most of us, will be OKAY.
Who doesn’t at some point, worry about money? The thought of never having enough or where’s it going to come from next? What if my business fails or I lose my job? Even people with an abundance of money continue to worry about it. I know, it’s true.
But have you ever noticed how some people always seem to have enough? It seems they’re travelling through life without a care in the world. What’s their secret? I think it could be the single act of no longer worrying about money—what a liberating thought.
Without a doubt, I firmly believe, the more you resist, the more you push it further away. Perhaps it’s time to stop worrying about money. It may be helpful to believe you’ll always have enough. I’m not suggesting financial denial. No, not at all. But if you keep going, keep doing what you love, keep striving, keep believing, you will always have enough.
Be thankful for what you have, you will end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have you will never ever have enough..
What do other people think?
When I was a young teenage girl full of adolescent angst, my mum offered a little gem. I’ve never forgotten it. “Not everyone is going to like you, Julie and that, my darling is perfectly okay.” This piece of advice coming to me at such a tender age, from the one person whose love was always guaranteed has held up well through my life.
I cannot change how you feel about me. But I can choose how I feel about myself. And that, is so much better.
Just spend 30 minutes on social media, and you’ll see a tiny window into other people’s lives, their worries, their fears, their insecurities.
It can be maddening. Worrying about what others think of us, even people we barely know. Does it help enrich your life? Is it wasted energy? Moments of your life that you’ll never get back?
Losing sleep over what others might think or say gives other people power over who you. Just keep being someone YOU like and I assure you the right people, those you need and want in your life will find you and love you for being uniquely YOU!!
Of course, being someone YOU like does take some level of honest self-assessment, but try to do it without being too harsh on yourself or worrying. Just move forward.
Your face, your appearance, your furrowed brow.
There are roughly 25,000 beauty products out there in the big wide world, with a promise to change, improve or eradicate something that makes you unhappy about yourself.
But, here’s the thing.
Many of your skincare complaints are never as bad as you imagine, and if they are? Well, the vast array of skincare products and other options, such as facial rejuvenation with light or laser, chemical peels, cosmetic surgery, muscle relaxing injections dermal fillers can fix your skin woes. There you go—one thing to stop worrying about. You’re welcome.
But it’s pretty clear, with all that’s on offer and with ever-increasing demand, we are indeed a bunch of worrywarts.
Worry too much and the desire to change what nature and your genes handed you, usually leads to a constant craving that is rarely satisfied.
Trying to hold the engagement of others through your appearance, whether that be your loved one, your friends or the adoration of society, in general, focuses your attention inward. It fuels worry and insecurity. Not good.
So while I continue to encourage you to care for your unique assets and make the best of yourself if you’re worrying too much about your beauty, attractiveness, the lines etched in your forehead; you may bring the opposite of what you were hoping you’d achieve. So perhaps stop worrying.
Instead, why not try and focus your attention outwards to others by noticing and commenting on their beauty, their grace, and their achievements and see what comes back to you.
Worrying about worry.
Worrying less could be the most critical thing we can do for ourselves. For our beauty, health, ageing positively. For our mental health, even our relationships with others will be better if we worry less.
It doesn’t mean not caring, but it does mean finding ways to relieve some of the anxiety and keeping a healthy perspective, finding ways to think constructively rather than destructively. And, finally pushing back on the stress we allow, all too often to control our lives.
Worry is a dangerous pastime and it’s time to kick it to the kerb.
Sometimes big changes are necessary, but minor shifts to ease angst can have a significant impact. Turning your phone to silent occasionally, leaving emails until tomorrow, getting more fresh air, walking, dancing, sunshine and much more laughter. I like to journal my worries. Writing it all down and then be done with it. If you can’t act on it, then worry will not fix it.
Above all, trust everything will be okay. I’ll admit none of this is easy. But for me, it’s time to look up, look around and smell the daisies.
Until next time. Peace.
Before you go, the advice contained within this article is my personal opinion and based on my own experiences, if this article has brought up issues, the best place to start is a visit with your GP or a medical professional.