wor·ry [wur-ee, wuhr-ee]
- To feel uneasy or concerned about something; be troubled.
- To disturb the peace of mind of.
- To proceed doggedly in the face of difficulty or hardship; struggle.
- To seize with the teeth and shake or tug at repeatedly.
If you’re like me, I was surprised by definition 3 and 4. In my mind, I see worry like sitting on a rocking chair – It gives you something to do but doesn’t get you anywhere. Or as “the interest paid on trouble before it comes due.”
I didn’t see worry as “proceeding doggedly” or as “seizing with the teeth”. In light of this new insight, I’d like to reframe legitimate worry so you can proceed doggedly in the face of difficulty and tug at your troubles repeatedly until you break through.
Before you do that however, you must eliminate unnecessary worry.
Here are the stats on worry that can help in that process…
40 % will never happen.
30 % concerns old decisions that cannot be changed.
12 % centers upon criticisms made by people who feel inferior.
10 % is related to your health, which worsens when you worry.
8 % is legitimate which can be met head on when you eliminate senseless worry.
In light of those numbers, let me suggest you make it your goal to focus on the 8% of the worries you can do something about when met head on.
Five Ways to Get to 8% and Deal Doggedly with Legitimate Worry
1. Get Pen – Start Writing
In Psychology Today, they suggest you start writing down what we’re worried about. Then you’ll start seeing clearly the things you are wasting your time worrying about as well as those true concerns you will have the energy to meet head on.
2. Get Planning
After you have your list and have crossed out the things not worth worrying about, ask the question: What can I do about what’s left? These answers form your action plan.
3. Get Perspective
Remind yourself how important staying focused on the 8% is. Stop negative self-talk at the door of your mind realizing your health depends on it! Dr. Podolsky in his book “Stop Worrying and Get Well” says there is a direct correlation between worry and heart trouble, blood pressure, ulcers, colds, thyroid malfunction, arthritis, migraine headaches, blindness and a host of stomach disorders. Stay focused!
4. Get Praying
Repeat the words Peter Marshall prayed in the US Senate some years ago:
“Help us to do our very best this day and be content with today’s troubles, so that we shall not borrow the troubles of tomorrow. Save us from the sin of worrying, lest stomach ulcers be the badge of our lack of faith. Amen.”
5. Get Productive
Unnecessary worrying is stewing without doing. Start doing the things you identified in step two. Productive action and activity reduces anxiety and gives you a tangible way “to proceed doggedly in the face of difficulty or hardship.”
What do you spend your time worrying about?
What 8% of those worries can you do something about?
What will you now do?
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