Today brings me to dealing with one of the most worrisome debilitating factors in my life. But I have to catch myself there, as thinking that way just makes the worry worse! I think if you asked most of my friends and relatives that they would say I worry way too much. But what is too much? I mean, that in itself, is a judgment and we have talked here a lot about how it’s best if we don’t make judgments on our feelings. Although, worry is not a feeling in and of itself, it is really a result of fear and can cause us anxiety. In fact, worry is likely the leading contributor to feelings of angst, in my mind.
On a daily basis, I worry about people close to me dying and the way they will die, what if I have an accident, what if my credit/debit card doesn’t work, what if I don’t succeed, what if I fail, what if someone close to me doesn’t succeed, what if… and the worry goes on. Labeling my worries as “what ifs” is a new thing for me. I just started to do this this past week as I am working through one of the CCI workbooks on Worry and Rumination. I knew I carried a lot of worries around with me, but I seriously had never connected those worries to the anxiety in my life. Well maybe I had acknowledged they contributed to my anxiety, but now I believe they are the main reason for my fear.
So, what do we do with worry? According to the information I’ve recently read, we don’t push it away! As with our feelings, trying to hide or ignore worry only makes it worse but what we can do is set the worry aside. I liken it to putting it into a suitcase in my mind that I will unlock at a later time. Then I give myself permission to open it at certain times through the day when it is more convenient. I did this yesterday and when 2:00 pm (the time I had given myself to spend worrying) came around, I had completely forgotten about it. I thought, incredible! But, what if the scenario in my mind doesn’t go away? What if the problem is still there? According to my recent reading, I check out the worry and question whether it is actually a problem I can solve (like being able to get a passport) or whether there really isn’t anything I can do about it (like people dying). If it is something that requires problem solving, I use my worry time to implement some problem solving strategies. If it is something I can do nothing about, I use my thinking time to explore challenging my thoughts. Both of these solutions require attentive action on my part. But just to know that I can change or solve my concerns helps the worry itself become more tolerable.
If you struggle with worry, I strongly recommend working through the same Workbook I am working through. I don’t believe it is enough just to read about worry, I really think we have to put some effort into solving the problem or challenging our thinking in order to have success with this. Once we have worked through our solutions on paper several times, it will become easier to deal with them on a more regular basis in our minds. Here is the link to the WorkBook I am currently using…