After a sleepless night tossing and turning, I realized that all the worry in the world wouldn’t change what I was feeling anxious about. At 3 AM everything can be something to worry about, right? In fact, all the tossing and turning didn’t make the potential “what ifs” I was fretting about magically solve themselves. Worries have a way of multiplying – perhaps because, in that heightened state of concern, it seems like there are more things to worry about. Things to keep us awake at night, and distracted during the day.
With the clarity that daylight, a few deep breaths, and a cup of coffee can provide, I also realized that I could let that worry go. It certainly wasn’t serving me, and making up wild stories and “what ifs” was taking me away from the work I want to do, the people I want to connect with and the ability to stay flexible and agile in my actions.
Sometimes, life sends each of us challenges – big and small. Believe me, I am not minimizing anything you may be experiencing. What I am talking about here is when we embellish a story, make it potentially worse than it is, and suffer because of it. Like tossing and turning and imagining the worst – all night long.
What is worry? The dictionary defines worry as a state of anxiety over actual or potential problems; to give way to anxiety or unease, and to allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles. Yup. What I like to focus on (and quote often to anxious clients is this reframe:
“Don’t waste worry. If you’re going to worry, worry well. Put that energy to good use; aim it an answer. Don’t forget, nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action.” ~Walter Anderson