Worry is interest paid on trouble before it becomes due. — Bumper sticker, 1980s
I used to think that worrying about my own self was selfish, but worry about someone else was a productive use of spare time. I’m not sure where I got that idea, but I still find myself falling into that mode of thought. To this day, I find it far easier to worry about someone else than I do myself — even at times when I SHOULD worry about myself, such as when I fell in love with a homeless alcoholic.
Anyway, worry is a form of stress, and we have more than enough stress in our daily lives without having to add onto it. If you’re worried about worry, here are some tips for you gleaned from my misadventures.
Worry As A Compliment
One of the things that make me most worried about worry is that my Mom worries about me a lot. Unfortunately, my past has given her good reason to worry about my present and my future. Mom has a lot of health problems and does a lot of volunteer work. She has enough to worry about. So, I keep telling her not to worry about me, my health, or whether or not I’ll get audited by the IRS.
However, when someone worries about you, it usually is a bizarre form of compliment. Take it as a compliment and talk about their worries if it is possible. You both might find something to laugh about. Try not to get mad or impatient when you hear for the five millionth time about how someone you love is worried about you. It’s usually a form of saying, “I love you.”
Worry Takes Up Time And Energy
One of the reasons you should worry about worry (just a little) is that worrying takes up time and energy that could be put to better use. However, you are not morally deficient for worrying. A little bit of worrying is good for you. Worry about missing a plane helps you to catch your flight. However, arriving at the airport the week before is really far too much worry than what is good for you.
Take up meditation or some short breaks throughout the day where you just stick in the here and now. Often, the here and now is pretty darn good, so why not enjoy it? Staring at fish in an aquarium is a great way to unplug yourself from the worry machine. Reading a trashy book works for some. Yoga works for others. Still others love taking a hot aromatherapy bath in candlelight.
It’s OK Not To Worry Sometimes
Somehow in my life, I equated worry with having foresight. So, often, worrying can make me feel a little smarter than all the rest of the non-worriers. But it’s not too smart of me to worry if it’s stressing me out and making me feel ill. Don’t be like me. Give yourself permission not to worry.
And if you do worry anyway, don’t whip yourself over it. You have enough problems as it is.