Worrying Has Its Benefits

I’ve struggled with how to handle worrying.  I’ve been taught, and also preached, not to worry until you need to worry–basically, don’t worry until the crap hits the fan.  Worrying is an emotion that alerts us to a fear/concern.  Wouldn’t it be more smart to plan for the fear versus hoping/praying the fear won’t happen?  

Tracy Dennis-Tiwary, PhD, a psychology and neuroscience professor and health technology entrepreneur, authored the article linked below, Don’t Try to Worry Less, Worry Smarter.  She states, which I’ve thought the same thing, that worry is the “thinking part of anxiety.”  It alerts us to take appropriate action and to find the best solution to either mitigate, or even help prevent the situation.  So worry is good…unless you let it get the best of you.

Unless a person has meta-worry (i.e., frequent panic attacks, the fear is vague), worry is only bad when we let it get out of control (obsessing, feeling less able to cope versus solve).

I think the first thing you need to do when worry shows itself, is determine if the worry is likely–is it your imagination, or possibly imposter syndrome, or assumption, or is it something that is substantiated.  If it is something that is likely, Tracy Dennis-Tiwary suggests the following:

  • Locate worry in your body:  Experience and name the feelings in your body (i.e., stomach is in a knot, heaviness in chest, etc.).
  • Make worry concrete and contained:  For me, writing the issue/concern down helps tremendously–it makes it simple and focuses me on the problem.
  • Problem solve:  Use problem solving techniques (i.e., brainstorm solutions, pros/cons, what if’s–if I do this, then this could be the result).
  • Let go of worries:  Sometimes this is harder done than said.  She provides several suggestions on how to let go, one of which is journaling.  For me, when I write it down and have a plan, the worry may not go away completely, but it is more under control/easier to handle.

Weeks of life left: 1,156

Don’t try to worry less. Worry smarter.

Image by Victoria_Watercolor from Pixabay 

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