Don’t Worry, Everything Will Be All Right!

I’m a worrier it’s true. It seems I worry about everything. I have come to understand something, telling someone who worries not to worry is like telling someone who is upset to calm down. In all the history of telling people to calm down no one has calmed down. So it is with worry.

 

I imagine it stems from the loss of my father when I was 3 years old, but I am very fearful at times that something devastating will happen where I could lose everything. So, I worry.

 

I have read articles on how to stop worrying, I have watched videos, I have talked with people and guess what, I still worry. I wonder, do you? Here’s how it works for me and maybe for you.

 

Something will come up for me, let’s say I have a pain in my leg that I have never had before – worry strikes – what if it is serious, what if…. so the worry begins. Once worry has begun then comes reasoning. You know what that is if you are a worrier. You try to reason yourself out of the concern. Something like, oh, I remember bumping my leg yesterday or checking out the other leg to see if it feels the same, or how about this one, going on the internet to check out leg pain to make sure you are all right and not going to die. Any of this sounds familiar?

 

During my quest to remove worrying from my life I have heard sayings such as: “Just let it go” “Think of something different” “It will be all right” “Pray about it” the list goes on and on. Guess what – nothing worked. I tried to let it go, think of something different, talking it out, etc. but the worry stayed.

 

In my life I have done a good job of developing a way of hiding my worry. I can imagine there are a lot of people who don’t even know I am a worrier. But to those who do know I bet I can be a real pain in the ass as I fret and stew about, in this case, the pain in my leg.

 

Sometimes I think people are simply trying to talk me out of worrying because I am a real pain when I am caught up in a worry panic and I’m sure life would be easier for them if I would stop. I wonder if you have worry panics. When they occur the person is consumed with the thought that something bad is going to happen. For me it is the thought that I have made a mistake, a poor choice and as I mentioned earlier I will loose everything. This is a very real panic. I have panicked that a family member or I would lose jobs that would change our lifestyle, I have worried that something bad has happened to a family member when they did not arrive at home at the time they said they would. Hell, I have worried that I left the front door open when I left the house and the dogs would get out.

 

It is at this point I am so glad for Non Violent Communication. Through NVC I have been able to connect to the need behind the anxiety and fear. I have come to understand that I cannot get rid of the worry but I can recognize it and develop life serving strategies that will help me meet my need of trust and confidence. Through NVC I am able to “turn my ears in” and recognize the worry/anxiety and go to a space where I am calmly able to focus on a strategy that works for me to be able to move. Oh, and there are also physical signs of worry for me. My chest and my shoulder get tight. So, when my mind will not stop thinking and my chest and shoulder get tight what do I do? Here’s my strategy, it works for me, I slow down and connect with the situation that is causing my worry. In this case the pain in my leg. I observe what is going on, my chest and shoulder are getting tight and I am thinking of terrible outcomes to my pain. I connect with what I need, I need peace, calm, and trust. Then I do something that was suggested by Tosha Silver in her book Outrageous Openness. In this book Tosha suggests the use of a “God Box.” Apparently, she was a worrier and she developed the idea of the God Box to help her meet her need of peace. The God Box is simply a box, you can decorate it anyway you wish, where you write out your worries and fears and place them in the box. The interesting point for me is there is no hope that God will take away your worries, rather you place the worries in the box knowing that God is in charge of the outcome.

 

So, I identify the worry situation, write out the concern and place it in the box and allow God to be in charge of the outcome. And for me this works to relieve the panic and worry. This works to slow the mind. I have connected with what was going on for me – leg pain – connected with what I was feeling – anxiety and fear – and connected to the need – peace, confidence and trust – and used a strategy that is life affirming – placed the worry in the God Box. That’s the strategy I use to get my need for peace, confidence and trust met. For me it works.

 

So, for you worriers out there, the challenge is to find a strategy that works for you. Connect with your feelings and needs and find a life affirming strategy to get those needs met. Maybe it is a God Box. And, Don’t worry, be happy!

 

Joy to you!

 

Mark

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