These days, especially among mindfulness advocates and practitioners, worry is something we try not to do. Worry is always about the future, and if we’re worrying, we’re not in the present. Since the only thing that really exists is the present, worry seems to be a fruitless waist of energy.
But, at the risk of confusing chronic worriers, one of whom used to be me, some worry is actually a good thing. Worry is good if we use it the way it was intended: as a way of checking out reality against expectations. Here are some examples of how worry can facilitate well-being:
- Checking our side mirror and then over our shoulder before changing lanes, instead of relying on not seeing anyone in my mirror;
- Double-checking the address of a new person I’m about to meet, thinking I may not recall it exactly;
- Making sure my daughter’s recital begins at 5 and not at 6;
- Going through my checklist of what to take to an important meeting, thus assuring myself I’m prepared.
All of these examples have one thing in common: the worry acts as a signal to make sure all is well. Then once I’m satisfied, I can relax and enjoy the rest of the day.
Worry changes from tool to problem when we dwell in worry. Then we tend to use it as a talisman to stave off anxiety – when we feel that, deep down, if we worry constantly, then the thing we fear might happen won’t. We say to ourselves: I’m worrying; I’m alert to what might happen and therefore on guard against it. Or: If I worry about the worst things that might happen, then whatever happens, I’ll be prepared for.
When we worry like this, the worry takes precedence over everything else. We forget that all it was, was a “what if” and treat it as if it already happened – just like we worried it would. All we really do when we worry like this is stressing our bodies and building up resistance to insulin.
Worry isn’t a problem-solver. It’s simply a smart tool to use to double-check we have the facts right.
Jack Garratt – Worry
Quote of the Day
Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up
-Ralph Waldo Emerson
At times we need more – we know the logic, know what to do. And yet something is still blocking us. As a registered psychotherapist and stress coach, I offer individual one-on-one consultations. For more information, visit my websitewww.thejoyofliving.co/programs or contact me directly firstname.lastname@example.org