Worrying about the possibility of things you cannot control is a huge waste of both time and energy. The mental activity of worry – without action – is disturbing and accomplishes nothing.
When you find yourself engaging in worry, determine what specifically you’re concerned about. Then decide if there’s something useful you can do to avoid or prepare for the potential outcome. If so, do it. If not, put your energy and attention to productive use elsewhere.
Give up Worrying
Worry is often a habitual behavior. When you worry, you likely start to engage in it unconsciously, habitually, rather than as result of a conscious choice. Even so, it’s a habit that you can shift with attention and awareness. The best thing to do with this habit, is to let it go.
According to Google’s definition, worry is:
Verb: (to) give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.
Noun: a state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.
I know worry. I used to worry a lot about things real and imagined; it was a habit I had learned early in life. I still do from time to time, as old habits seem to pop up from time to time to see if I’ll welcome them back once again.
Fortunately these days I usually catch the worry pretty quickly and reel myself back from indulging in it very long. That’s because I’m clear that the mental activities of worry and anxiety just aren’t worth it. They offer no goodies – just feelings of being fretful, stressed, tense and disquieted (or maybe you enjoy those kind of feelings?).
Worry is like concern run amok! It can be very useful to feel concern about things. To have concern about making sure your bills are paid, or to feel concern for the well-being of a family member, or to have concern about larger political or social issues.
When you feel concern about a challenge, situation or circumstance, it can spur you into action to do something about it.
But worry is concern without action. It’s an act of engaging your mind and emotions into an uneasy, anxious loop, without the possibility of making a change for the positive.
What you can do.
(Expanding on the paragraph from the top of the page.)
- When you find yourself worrying, stop, consciously relax your body and focus on your breath and the act of breathing.
- Hold your attention on your breath and be aware of the rise and fall of your chest as you do. Then gently ask, “What am I concerned about right now?”
- Let an answer easily come to you as a simple thought, word, image or feeling. Acknowledge and go with whatever comes to you first, – even if it doesn’t seem to make sense.
- Continuing to focus on your breath and breathing, ask, “Is there something useful I can do to address this concern right now?” Is there a specific action you can take to avoid or prepare for some negative circumstance?”
- If there is something specific and useful you can do, then take action and do it!
- If you’re not sure, treat it as a ‘no’ for the time being until you get more information one way or the other.
- If there is nothing specific and useful you can do at that moment, take a deep breath, acknowledge the concern once again and choose to let it go for now.
- Then focus your attention and energy into action by doing something else productive for yourself or others.
So I invite you to give up worrying in favor of action. You’ll reclaim wasted time and energy, be more decisive, productive and have greater peace of mind. And isn’t that what you came here to get?
You can receive these weekly Peace of Mind Tips directly in your inbox each week. Just enter your name and email in the box in right hand side bar. When you subscribe, I’ll send you my free “Self-Love, Compassion and Forgiveness” guided exercise audio recording.
Thanks for reading!