I have a tendency to worry. I think it is due to the fact that I juggle a lot of responsibilities and often find myself involved in projects that have me out of my comfort zone.
Additionally, I think I worry sometimes because there are many wonderful things in my life that I fear losing.
Actually, when you think about it, that’s what all worry is – a fear of loss. I worry because I don’t want to lose something I have or something I hope to have.
Ironically, this means that worry can strike even more during the good times in life. Have a great relationship? You can start worrying about losing that person. Just landed a new job? You can easily begin worry about screwing up at work.
Now a lot of people will tell you that the way to avoid worry is to not think about it, but honestly, that doesn’t work. Don’t think about a dancing bear in a tutu. I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what is in your mind now.
In fact, by trying not to think about something, you actually increase the likelihood of it occupying prime real estate in your mind. So what can we do?
Let’s try something very counter-intuitive.
Rather than trying to forget our worries, I want you to focus on them. How and why?
Here’s how. First, get a journal. Here’s a nice one. It’ll be your worry journal. Next, everyday for at least a week I want you to write down every worry that pops into your mind.
“I might be late today!” Write it down. “I think my coworker thought my joke was dumb.” Write it down. “I worry my partner won’t love me someday.” Write it down.
No matter how big or small the worry, get it down on paper.
Why are we doing this? Well there are 2 huge benefits.
First, by getting these worries out of our heads and on to paper, we surprisingly will reduce the attention we pay to them. But the second benefit is even more powerful.
Imagine you have a friend who always gives you advice. Unsolicited. But he’s almost always wrong. Would you listen to him? Would you let his words dictate your life? Of course not!
But here’s the thing. Your worries are nothing more than unsolicited advice and they are usually incorrect, just like the friend in our imaginary example.
Don’t believe me. You will after this experiment. After you write down every worry for a week, I want you to review your entries.Calculate what percentage of them actually came true? Find out what percentage turned out to be totally unnecessary.
The results will prove to you once and for all that in most cases you worries are to be laughed at, not feared.
Give it a try, and set yourself free from your worries.