Break the Unhealthy Habit of Worrying
Updated: Oct 3, 2018
I’m a recovering worrier. Growing up in a dysfunctional household, I developed the very unhealthy habit of worrying. Worrying about what kind of mood my mother would be in, worrying if my brother was sick again, worrying about school, friends, jobs, criticism, past and future events…..the list goes on. Not surprisingly, this left me with a host of ‘stress-related’ illnesses including IBS, stomach ulcers, skin rashes (I know, go figure?), TMJ and migraines. Not fun.
As I was approaching my 30th birthday, I decided that something had to give and I started to look in the mirror to understand how my behaviour was creating my own stress and illness. Of course, me being me, I started to look for answers in a book. I came across the 1948 classic, ‘How to Stop Worrying and Start Living’ by Dale Carnegie. Dale Carnegie, grew up in Missouri, the son of a poor farmer, who became a successful salesman in the 1920’s. Not exactly the type of person I thought would inspire me, but his down-to-earth, sound advice stands the test of time.
I recommend this book all the time as it’s packed with wisdom and easy-to-implement advice. Here are some of my favourites which helped me kick the habit:
Live in ‘day-tight’ compartments – you and I both know that worrying about the past or future is wasted energy as there’s nothing we can do about them. Focus on the present day. Letting go those past or future worries frees you to show up fully in today.
Cooperate with the inevitable – as Byron Katie loves to say, ‘when you fight with reality, you only lose 100%of the time.’ It’s going to be raining on your wedding day? – Don't worry, buy 100 candles and make it a the most romantic rainy wedding of all time. There are some things we just can’t change, so find a way to make peace with them.
Find Yourself and Be Yourself (Remember there’s no one else on earth like you!) – getting to know, accept and embrace all your unique, bizarre and lovable traits is fundamental. It’s frankly none of your business what someone else thinks about you. You are a one of a kind gem, stop worrying about the rest of the herd.
Rest Before You Get Tired – You know, you’re not you when you’re tired (or hungry!) and your tendency to worry can rocket when you’re run down. Be aware of this and make it a priority to take breaks, naps, walks in the park and time out on the sofa. Be proactive in getting the rest you need, before you’re a wrung-out, tired mess. Believe me – this can change your world.
To help keep me sane, I also meditate regularly, have a strong spiritual practice, write in a journal and severely limit the amount of caffeine I drink – but those are stories for another day.
Breaking the worry habit can be hard and it’s worth the effort. I’m not saying I never worry anymore, but I do have better tools to interrupt those unproductive thoughts. I know that my worrying thoughts won’t change anything or anyone and only end up harming me. And I know investing in my health and happiness is a far better use of my time.
p.s. Struggling with your worry habit? Drop me a line. I can help. Get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org to book a free 20 minute discovery call today.