Why so many people spend so much time worrying? Why when we worry it seems so justified? Why once we start worrying, it is so difficult to stop?
My theory is that in the past it was a matter of survival. If you see a lion in the distance and know this lion can potentially eat you, would you make sure you keep an eye on that lion?
Worry is anticipating something frightening which may happen to you or those you care about. Thinking about something frightening in your future is like keeping an eye on a lion in the distance. It makes sense. It feels important.
How can I relax if there is a lion wanting to eat me?
But the real lion will eventually either go away or attack. In any case, the situation will resolve rather quickly and you can either relax or run for your life (or become lunch).
With an imaginary lion, with this frightening thing in the future, the situation may never resolve. One lion is gone, another appears. There is never a time to relax and just enjoy being alive.
Worry would not be such a big deal if it didn’t create toxic neurochemistry, which increases inflammation, weakens the immune system and puts more wrinkles on our face.
I found only one practical way to deal with worry. It is to ground myself in the present moment, ground myself in my physical body and physically check if the thing which frightens me is physically there.
I ask myself, what do I see with my physical eyes? What can I touch with my physical hands? What do I hear with my physical ears? And am I physically safe or I need to remove myself from the situation.
You can think of worry as watching a movie showing you bad things which can happen to you in the future. After you watched it once, you can take notice and play something different.
Need one more reason to stop wasting your energy on worry? Think back a few months? What you were worrying about? Did you worry about a global pandemic and everyone wearing masks and staying home? I bet you didn’t.
Reality often is more creative than our wildest fears. This is why worry really is a waste of time. What if instead of wasting life on worrying we learned to appreciate moment of peace, safety and love? What if we replace worrying with awareness and mental resilience? What if we chose to be strong and resourceful in the face of adversity?
If you need help navigating these troubling times and would love to learn what tools and skills you can add to your mental toolbox, contact me and let’s set up a free consultation.