Thursday, April 16, 2009

Worry or Not Worry? You Choose

I'm a reformed worrier. Like many people, I worried out of habit. It seemed like the thing to do when you really cared about something....or someone. I've always been one who cared, so breaking out of my worry mode took some effort to break that connection.

It seems that worriers can often collapse worry with caring, commitment, responsibility etc. Somehow when deeply committed to worry, we can trick ourselves into believing that if we don't worry, something bad will happen. Worriers also believe (when worry is related to performance) that we cannot do our best, unless we're worried. A commonly held belief is that if you trust, or allow yourself to be in the flow of things, it somehow means you're opening yourself up to all sorts of potential calamities, from which worry can protect you. Of course, the same preparation, study etc. would be needed. It is just the worry part you leave out of the equation.

Trying to convince a worrier that their well intentioned efforts to live their best life via worry, is just about impossible. I like to approach the discussion by having people note how they feel when they are in worry mode. I have never had anyone tell me that they feel calm, peaceful or joyful. Typically, the responses are nervous, anxious, frightened.

When each of us answers the question of how we want to be living our lives, typically the responses are more in the happy, freedom and peace category.

Paying attention to how you feel and realizing there is a direct connection between your thoughts and your feelings can gradually shift you from worry to acceptance, one thought at a time, that is if you choose to make that shift.

When my fellow caring, committed, responsible souls in the world see that they actually perform closer to their optimal level when feeling happy and peaceful, rather than nervous and anxious, those fear-based thoughts that feed worry can gradually dissipate.

Some readers of this piece may totally disagree. That's okay....I'm not going to worry about it. It's already done.

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