I don’t know about you, by my internal worry machine manufactures worries like a factory on a deadline. And yet, I’m posting Wednesday words today, Thursday, and not worrying about it. This departure is an intentional deviation from the usual second guessing and “what ifs” that can make up a significant portion of my inner chatter.
Unravelling the worry habit takes some doing – or some undoing, that is. I’ve been working with it for years. My clients struggle with it too.
The creative mind can be prone to worry.
Creative thinking always involves the question “What if?” What if I combine these ingredients in the sauce? What if we make a phone that’s small enough to carry everywhere? What if people could fly? The “what if mind” is generative. It’s usually imaginative too,it gets busy picturing possibilities and conjuring scenarios.
Consider what happens when we combine that fertile imagination with fear, “What if I try and then fail?” “What if I can’t manage all my To Dos?” “What if the interviewer asks me something I don’t know.” “What if I miss the train? ” “What if what I want isn’t possible?”
What if you saw your ability to worry as creativity gone off track? Is there more space for you to deal with it? Is there an opening to approach the equation, imagination + fear, differently?
Worrying is a poor substitute for action.
A client recently said, ” I fool myself into thinking that I’m doing something when I worry.” She’s right, worry has energy, it can make our heart race, thoughts travel through our minds sometimes far into the future, and then… and then…. This can feel like doing something. You’re not. This is a mind trap.
Human brains are wired for action. If you’ve been around children you know that asking them to “stop running” is much less effective than asking them to “walk.” Why? Because we respond much better to directives that require forward movement. Positives not negatives. Do this instead of Don’t do that.
Worry = Love. Not.
At every family gathering for what seemed like years, my stepmother pulled me aside to say,”Your dad loves you, he worries about you all the time.” Have you been told that worry is proof of love, an act of love or care or concern. Is it? Really? Are you sure?
Many of us learned to worry instead of learning to do the things that actually are loving to others and to ourselves.
Habitual worrying has effects – worrying about them won’t change anything.
One consequence of persistent worrying is that It begets more worry. Deeply unsatisfying, worry causes constricted muscles, headaches, unease and possibly dis-ease. Even more reasons to worry! Not only are we out of the present moment when we worry, but we’ve begun to,what the Buddha calls “bend the mind,” that is, we see more of what we think about and that becomes our reality. Yikes.
Worrying may be a habit (which provides some level of comfort) but it isn’t action, it isn’t proof of care, it alters your reality and it isn’t asking for what you want.
It isn’t even fun.