I am a champion worrier.
By my 20s, I had mastered the art of constant worrying: worrying about my relationships, my words, my actions, my knowledge, my appearance, my faith, my housing, my cats, my health, my periods, my computer, my car, you name it, I worried about it! I was also good at hiding my anxiety, because I worried that people would reject me if they knew of my anxiety. I bluffed my way through life, oblivious to my major successes while focused on my minor failures. I could generate gut gnawing regret by thinking about incidents from years before. When I broke my engagement, I worried myself into a case of shingles.
Even now, I am still a champion worrier. Just the other day I idly wondered if a sensation I had in my intestines meant I had inoperable colon cancer and would die before my daughter turned 5. (She’s currently 54weeks away from turning 5). I genuinely felt fear and anguish.
Thanks be to God, these moments are few and far between now, however. Through a combination of meditation, talk therapy, prayer, Reiki, and medication, I live life with peace and joy as my primary emotions.
All of this to say why I can tell you what’s REALLY wrong with worrying.
It’s ironic, isn’t it? We think about all the things that could go wrong with the future, but instead of addressing each one and planning for it, we spiral into a tizzy. At least, I do!
I quoted Winston Churchill at the beginning of this entry because I’ve been reading his set of books about WWII. This quote is in the context of his planning for eventualities during the Battle of Britain. England was the only country fighting against Hitler and Italy at the time, and they were trying to prepare for an invasion while being mercilessly bombed night and day. There were worries about infrastructure, defense, counter attacks, morale, the deaths of civilians, the collapse of the British Empire, etc. But Churchill didn’t just worry: he planned.
When a worry occurs, it is a chance to plan.
Churchill planned for bombing raids, setting civilian networks into motion. Churchill planned for food rationing and researched how to make rationing fair. Churchill planned for the future: a future in which Hitler was defeated.
When you experience worry, you can either sit still and get on the merry go round of insanity in your head, or you can take action and make plans.
Worried that you have enough money for retirement? Research what you’ll need and create a plan to get that amount. Worried that you won’t have enough food for a party? Sit down, count the number of people coming, add up the number of servings, and then buy a little more than what your numbers show. Worried that your kids will misbehave on a vacation? Plan activities and down time for them and tell everyone involved what the plan is. Worried that your car will break down on your road trip? Make a plan of how to avoid a breakdown (rental car, AAA membership, borrowing a friend’s car, getting your car checked by a mechanic, etc.). Worried that your presentation won’t go well? Spend time rehearsing it.
As a coach, this is a primary way I help my clients.
As they worry, I help them tease out the individual issues and make a plan for each one. It’s amazing how much stress we can eliminate when we just tackle one possibility at a time and plan for it.
Using worry as a trigger for proactive planning is just 1 way to successfully handle the worry habit. Remember, I used meditation, talk therapy, Reiki, prayer, AND medication to conquer my worry habit.
Don’t struggle alone. Schedule a Breath of Fresh Air with me today and we will talk about the sources of your worries and how to address them!