Break the Habit of Worrying

 “Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”
~ Leo Buscaglia

Worry. Can you think of anything that burns up so much of your life for no real purpose?

I admit I can be a worrywart myself. For example, if one of my daughters is late coming home, I may start to imagine that she has been in a car accident or that some other catastrophe has happened.

It’s silly, and I’m very conscious of that silliness.

I’ve been working on breaking the habit of worrying. So much of what I worry about hasn’t happened and isn’t ever going to. I know I’m not alone in having this bad habit.

Can you relate? How much of your unhappiness is caused by the habit of worrying? Of all the ways you can spend your time, worrying is one of the least productive.

Worrying is a sense of uneasiness, often accompanied by imagining or expecting the worst. When you are worrying, you think that something bad may be about to happen. Your mind continually returns to a dreadful, imagined scenario in your mind, and you can’t seem to let it go. You might stay stuck, completely focused on this figment of your imagination. Your thinking might become obsessive and intense.

As Erma Bombeck said, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.”

Why Worrying is so Bad for You

 A sense of impending doom can have a negative impact on both your physical and mental health. When you are caught up in worrisome thoughts, your anxiety level rises. You may feel threatened and out of control. When others tell you to snap out of it, you don’t feel any better. In fact, the more you’re told not to worry, the more worried you may feel.

If you worry frequently, the hours you spend worrying are being wasted rather than being spent on something more productive. But that’s only a small part of the reason worrying is bad for you. You may feel so anxious that you may turn to medication, alcohol, cigarettes or food.

Some people are so consumed with irrational thoughts that they are unable to focus on their job or other responsibilities. Worrying and anxiety can cause physical symptoms, such as headaches or muscle tension. It can even lead to dizziness or a fast heartbeat. It can make you a lot less productive.

Replace Worrying with Better Habits

It’s clear that spending a lot of time worrying about things that may not happen, or things that are inevitable that you can’t change isn’t doing you any good and doesn’t lead to a happy life.

Use the energy and increased alertness you feel to do something productive. Scrub your kitchen, weed the garden, walk around the block. Work out with weights or do any form of exercise.

Worrying about something far in the future is wasting the gift of this present moment. Bring back your focus onto today. Try to picture a positive outcome rather than a negative one.

In life there are things you can control and things you can’t. While you may not be able to eliminate the worrying habit completely, you may be able to reduce the time you spend worrying. Try telling yourself that you are only allowed to worry for five or ten minutes and then you are going to have to do something else.

As Mark Twain said, “Drag your thoughts away from your troubles….by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.”

Worrying often makes things look worse than they are. You might not be able to simply tell yourself to stop worrying, but see if you can replace the habit of worrying with something better.

John Lubbock said, “A day of worry is more exhausting than a day of work.”

Let’s find something better to do.

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