All human beings experience worry. Some worry more than others. Some worry very little.Others carry worry with them wherever they go. And some others worry about how worried they get, and then worry that maybe something’s wrong with them. Those of us, who worry “too much” tend to look at those who worry very little and wonder:
Am I worrying wrong? How should I worry? Why am I so worried? Why can’t I stop worrying? What am I worried about? What if I never stop worrying? Is my worrying abnormal? Is my worrying getting worse? What’s wrong with me?
Those are questions some of us ask ourselves. As you look at those questions, what sort of feeling do you suppose one gets by asking those questions.
Answer: More Worry.
We see that when we feel worried. We start to worry about our worrying and end up getting more worried. I bet you can imagine what happens next…
Other times, instead of asking these questions, we decide to try not to worry.
Consider when you’re feeling worried and someone tells you, “stop worrying about it.” What happens? We get even more worried and then feel frustrated with ourselves because we couldn’t take their advice or we get frustrated with them for giving bad advice. Although it’s pretty easy to see that it doesn’t work when someone else tells us, “stop worrying”, we still seem to think that it might work if we tell ourselves to “stop worrying.” But why should it be any different, whether it’s them telling us or us telling ourselves?
If you too have ever found yourself frustrated because you couldn’t just decide to stop worrying, don’t worry, you’re not alone. The fact is, the more we try not to have worry, the more worried we get. It almost feels like there is no solution to this dilemma, and indeed, there is no solution to this dilemma.
We are trying to use problem solving on something that can’t be solved. By trying to solve something that doesn’t have a solution, we cannot succeed. And this sense of failure leads to more of what we can’t seem to solve. The first step is recognizing that you cannot try to stop it. This is like trying to heal a bee sting by beating the hive with a stick.11/17/21, 12:08 PM How to Handle Worry | Ellie Family Services https://elliefamilyservices.com/stop-worrying/ 3/3
So, what then? Well, if we cannot solve it when we try to, what if we just give up and decide to have it instead. When we choose to have it, we fundamentally change our relationship with it. We take our power back. It’s kind of like being on a moving train that you can’t get off of… you might as well decide to ride it.
We can also recognize worries for what they are: pesky little salesmen floating around in the car dealership of our mind. Except, instead of selling us cars, they’re selling us worrisome thoughts about catastrophes, calamities and doom.
We might even learn to laugh about how ridiculous some of them are. Sometimes it istruly funny how powerful these things can be, when really they’re just worried little ideas.For example, I sometimes catch myself getting sucked into a nightmarish tornado of spinning worries and begin to laugh at how impressive they are in continually tricking me into buying their stories.
For some folks, this explanation doesn’t feel very good, because sometimes worries seem to be more than just worries…. If we can’t tell whether or not these are “valid” worries (if they are realistic concerns that we can to do something about right now), we can try and assess the situation by asking a few questions about the worrying idea. Some examples:
What evidence exists to support this worry? (other than some other worries, thoughts or beliefs about it)
What’s most likely going to happen?
What happened the last time I had this worry?
What is the worst thing that could happen?
If it is true, what can I actually do about it?
Have I felt this way before, and the thing I feared didn’t actually happen?
If it’s not something I can fix right now, in this moment, what can worrying do to stop it from happening?
Is this worrying helpful to me at this moment?