Why Worrying Doesn’t Work
The late public speaking guru Dale Carnegie often said the most tragic thing he knew about human nature was that all of us tend to put off living.
He was referring to our tendency to worry so much about what is going to happen to us in the future that we ignore all the beautiful things that are happening in our life today.
Worry can rob you of your days and steal the sleep you need from your nights. It fuels your stress, which in turn fuels your anxiety and destroys your health.
Worry is a little hard to describe, but one of the best definitions is to go back to the original old English version of the word, which was “whygan” meaning to strangle ourselves.
That is what it does to us.
Worry happens when we become focused on disturbing thoughts, bad things that we think may happen to us and those we love and even the whole world in general.
The things we worry about are always negative and often accompanied by self-criticism and blame.
When you live in the land of the worriers, you start to forget what is real. What you imagine can happen, especially the bad stuff, dominates the space for thinking in your brain and crowds out your positive, creative thoughts.
In turn this leads to more angst and stress.
So how do we stop letting worry take over our lives?
It is easy to say that we should care only about what is happening now, but that is not easily done.
I used to worry a lot more than I do now. I worried about my businesses, my children, and just about every aspect of my life.
I wanted to quit worrying, but I knew it wasn’t in my personality to just stop cold and never consider a worrying thought.
So I allowed myself two minutes a day to worry. I could think all the negative, scary thoughts I could imagine in those two minutes.
After I week, I shortened the allowable worry time to one minute, and then one minute twice a week.
It was interesting that the very act of allowing myself to worry started to relieve some of my anxiety. In a way, it allowed me to control my worry.
Within a few weeks, I realized I didn’t need as much time as I allowed myself. I was actually developing a habit of controlling my worrying and it really helped.
I know that it is normal as a human being to have some worries or cautions about how we behave. If I had to walk with a bag full of money down a dark alley in a tough part of town late at night, I would worry that I could be robbed. That is a sensible worry, and it prompts me to take another approach to transporting the money.
If I wake up some morning and realize my body has a lump where there was not one before, I would worry enough to go get it checked by a doctor. That is a normal survival worry that prompts me to take action.
But the endless worries about all the smaller and larger things that I cannot control do me no good, and it is those that I have tried hard to control in my life.
Try my strategy or devise your own, but make this the year that you stopped devoting too much of your creative time with worrying and too little in appreciating and enjoying all the good things that are right under your nose.
Paula Morand is a leadership building, revenue boosting, strategy expanding keynote speaker, author and visionary. This dreaming big and being bold leadership expert and brand strategist brings her vibrant energy, humor and wisdom to ignite individuals, organizations and communities to lead change, growth and impact in a more bold fashion.
25 years, 27,000 clients, 34 countries, 15 books, former radio personality, 11x award winning entrepreneur and humorous emcee.
Check out Paula’s bestselling books on Amazon: “Bold Courage: How Owning Your Awesome Changes Everything”, “Dreaming BIG and Being BOLD: Inspiring stories from Trailblazers, Visionaries and Change Makers” book series; and her newest release Bold Vision: A Leader’s Playbook for Managing Growth”. For speaking inquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org or call toll-free 1-888-502-6317.