Have you ever noticed how spending time worrying works? We start with a bit of fear, a possibility of an outcome that is never good (hence the word worrying). Negative thoughts creep in and dominate our thinking. We then create a path of new worry, layering unrelated worry on top of the original worry. Not everyone worries this way, but I have been there, and I know plenty of people that spend time enjoying the process of worrying. Sounds a bit crazy, this worrying thing. However, before you know it, we have created and projected the outcome of everything that could go wrong and will go wrong. Suddenly, we are trapped in our own creation of thinking worry. Naturally we need someone to share our worry with and seek them out. OMG! Now we have a worry network!
The good thing is the outcome—worrying rarely turns out as projected. The expectation of our fate is usually not totally grounded in facts, history or behaviors, so the idea that we spend hours, days, even our whole lives worrying is mind-boggling. We continue to try to peer into the future and yet fear it at the same time.
I admit I may be going over the top in describing how most people get caught up in worry. The person I describe here may be a worry junkie, or a personality that has a hard time separating what is real and what they have imagined, but that’s what too much worry will do for you.
Worrying is about understanding the future, knowing what the future will bring, and usually involves some degree of disaster. Recently, I read this in a book: “I have never met a person from the future.” I certainly haven’t had the pleasure, so how would I know what outcomes tomorrow will bring?
Is it possible to perfect the art of not worrying? For me, I always go back to recognizing that it is a decision. As with most things I want to change, I have to want to change. Then it becomes a matter of practice, of paying attention. Faith plays a big part, as does trust, letting go, understanding, common sense and desire. Changing a cognitive behavior is not easy—self-talk, mnemonic devices, meditation, staying on the path of change—all of it is a process. Shifting our thinking to acceptance, thinking positive and living in gratitude is the real key.
For today, I’m not going to worry about worry. Instead, I’m practicing the “Don’t worry, be happy” approach, which, I must admit, is a whole lot more fun.
In peace, love and laughter,
Joe Dunne, Publisher