My top three worries right now are:
- My kids will be taken.
- A vehicle will drive through a building my kids/myself/my husband are in.
- Reagan (my one-year-old) will choke on the huge amount of food she constantly shoves in her mouth.
My mother is a worrier. She worries about everything. EVERYTHING. Growing up with a worrier was, well, worrisome. When I was little, I worried I would worry like her, I was confused about what to worry about, and I worried that my mother would kill herself worrying. (I still worry about that last one.)
I saw the following quote one time:
Worrying about tomorrow robs today of its joy.
Or something like that.
Every time I worry, I repeat this or tell myself that I’m out of this moment, reel it back in, and to move on. No one wants to be around a vocal worrier, and, honestly, no one wants to be a worrier. I’m confident of that.
In order to combat worry and not drive myself (and my loved ones) crazy, I evaluate my worries. Oh yes, I do. I HAVE to. When a worry pops up, I ask myself some questions:
1. Is my worry valid/true/realistic?
At this moment, in this country/state/city, with all we’ve done up to this point, is this thing I’m worried about a possibility? If yes, move on to 2. If no, let it go. (Weeeeeeeeeeeee!)
2. Why am I worried about this?
Was this on the news? Often? Did this happen to someone I know? More than once?
The news (and social media) give me so many new things to worry about. Thanks so much! The news often introduces something I never even knew I could worry about (for example, the car into a building thing). I worry for about two seconds about most of that stuff then think “Come on! A small private plane isn’t going to crash in to my house! Silly news!” Let it go!
Something happening to someone I know brings it closer to home, but I’m given the gift of an “expert” to discuss prevention and preparation. Move on to number 3.
3. Can I control the situation to avoid what I’m worried about?
My FAVORITE! If you cannot control it, don’t worry. If you can control it, do something about it, then don’t worry. This is usually the first question I ask myself. Can I do something about what I’m worried about? If no, move on to number 4. If yes, fix it NOW. Duh! Then, don’t worry.
4. What is the effect of what I’m worried about? How will I deal with that?
SPOILER ALERT: The actual effect won’t be nearly as horrible as the effect you think up to answer this question. In any event, it’s best to be prepared for what may come. For example, my kids will get sick, and it may be severe. I can’t do anything about it aside from washing their hands and some other prevention things, but I can’t stop all sickness. I like to think I’m prepared for it when it happens. I have a great pediatrician, medications, natural remedies, and live in a place with hospitals that offer amazing medical care (God forbid!). That’s what I’ve done. I’m OK with that. I don’t worry (constantly) about this situation. Moving on…
5. Can I talk to someone about this?
I hope you have some awesome friends like I do. I have people I can talk about anything with – and I do. Nine times out of 10 I feel so incredibly better about life afterwards. Now, those people may tell you you’re silly. Don’t get angry about that. They’re your friend, yo!
Dealing with a worry by answering these questions about it has really taken down my stress. Some things I’ll always worry about, I can’t help it. People get sick, people die, people get hurt, people lose jobs, etc. Also, some of my worries will be silly to others. I don’t care. They’re MINE! I’m not embarrassed to tell you I’ve worried about a zombie apocalypse more than once (Question 1 helps kick that one to the curb). By being prepared as much as I can for those things that are likely to happen, I feel better, my worry dulls, and I don’t feel the need to talk about much of my worries to anyone.
Do you worry a lot? Is it a problem for you? How do you get past your worries? How do you deal with people who tell you your worries are silly (in my opinion, a huge insult)?