I had a lady yesterday tell me she was not in control of her life because “anything could happen at any time.” She talked about being killed in a car accident and gave several other tragic examples. What I learned was this woman was really good at worrying. She could worry about anything or about nothing.
Chronic worry plagues a lot of people. Bruce Van Horn once said, “Worry is using your imagination to create images of things you don’t want to see.” I thought that was an excellent description of worry. We get preoccupied with outcome we do not want. As a result, we constantly fear that outcome actually happening.
Worry Finds Tragedy
Worrying causes us to find negative events when they do not exist. In reality, the future does not exist – at least not yet. I don’t know the percentages, but many of the things we worry about never occur and even those that do are nowhere near as bad as our thoughts were beforehand. If what we believe could happen actually did, none of us would even be alive! Don’t let the improbable capture your focus.
Worrying is often accompanied by helplessness. Like the lady I spoke with, excessive worry causes us to believe our life is not under our control. In reality, most of the things that happen in our lives are consequences of our own actions – good or bad. Believing the worst not only could happen, but is likely to happen, will rob our energy to take action.
Worry Can Be Beaten
Okay. You know excessive worry isn’t good for you. So what do you do about it? Try answering these questions:
1. On a scale of 1 – 100, how realistic is the outcome I expect? For the lady I spoke with yesterday, she decided the likelihood of being killed in a car accident was a 2 on this scale. Be realistic. Do the math if needed. Rate it honestly. You will have a tendency to choose a higher number in order to justify your worry. Check your rating with someone else.
What are some things you do to help you reduce your worry? Leave a comment with your strategies and help others.