If you consider yourself a “worry wart” it may not be your fault. You probably grew up raised on worry. It was a common theme of those raised in the post WWII era. If our parents weren’t worried about money, they worried about our getting into an accident or getting good grades in school or you name it.
I once heard a great definition of worry: it’s negative goal setting. That’s because worry is always about the future, and none of us can really predict the future. It’s such wasted energy that could be constructively used to make the present a lot better. Reign in your overactive imagination. Imagine instead using the energy you would have expended on worry to envision a positive future.
Those who worry think that by worrying over an issue they are keeping it from happening, when in fact they may actually be attracting it. Based on the Law of Attraction, what you focus your thoughts on you draw to you. It’s helpful to understand this negative effect worry has in attracting what you are worrying about.
You might think if you worry enough about not forgetting what to say when you have to give a speech at work today, then somehow you could stop it from occurring. Yet, your worry might cause you to get nervous and create just what you were worried about happening. (Not to mention the physical side effects of chronic worrying like heart disease and ulcers.)
Take a look at something you’re worried about now and see what it’s really about. Are you worried you’ll catch the flu from your kids? Focus instead on the fact that you take good care of yourself, eat well, take supplements, exercise, and haven’t been sick in years. Then shift your focus to staying healthy and seeing the kids getting well quickly. Are you worried about having enough money for retirement? Focus on the present and be thankful that you have enough now and can put some away each month for the future. Then look at what you need to do realistically to reach the goals you set for your retirement.
Action is another antidote to worry. And if your life has really been pretty good so far, worry is just a bad habit and not based on any proof. If you look at all the good in your life, you’ll see that you’re only making up stories that will in most likelihood never come true. Save your creativity for writing novels.
We were also taught to not assume something good is going to happen or we’ll jinx it. Or don’t put all our eggs in one basket. A lot of these clichés actually create the opposite effect of what we intend. See if this helps. Ask yourself: what’s the worst that can happen? Then you can rationalize worry away by seeing your fears are unfounded.
Being appreciative for the present is a great way to reduce worry. If we are focusing on the good in our lives, we’re less likely to focus on imagined scenarios of what hasn’t even happened yet. And just because some event happened in the past is no reason to assume it will repeat itself in the future. I like this cliché: the past is history, the future is a mystery, and the present is a gift–that’s why it’s called the “present.”