#118: Power Play – Worrying

No matter what you do, there are things in life that you have no power over.  You can work your hardest at something, but you can’t always control the outcome.  While you have control your own actions, you can’t control someone else’s.

No matter how much you worry, it won’t stop the bad stuff from happening, but if you’re too busy worrying about the future, you’re missing out on something right now.  This moment right now is what you have to be grateful for.  Nobody knows what their future will hold, but we do know that no matter what happens, God holds our future.

Of course, telling yourself to stop worrying is way easier said than done.  Even if you know that God has a plan for you and that He will be there through the good and the bad, it can be hard to quiet those anxious thoughts.  But worrying is the problem, not the solution.  Try a couple of these tips from Help Guide to stop worrying from controlling your life:

  1. Create a “worry” period. Choose a 20 minute time block for worrying at a set time and place where you can work through the problems that are making you anxious.  If you have an anxious thought during the day, take note of it to think about later, and let it go right now.  After that ‘worry’ period, let those thoughts go.
  2. Distinguish between solvable and unsolvable worries. Is your worry solvable?  If there’s something you can do about it or to prepare for it, create a plan to do that.  If it’s something you don’t have control over and there’s not a problem to be solved, make sure you recognize that, but don’t discount your emotions.
  3. Accept uncertainty. Worrying about the unknown and ‘what if’ scenarios won’t change the future or make life any more predictable.  Although the unknown can be a scary thing, there are lots of good things about not knowing what the future holds.
  4. Challenge anxious thoughts. What’s the evidence that the thought is true or untrue?  Is there a more positive, realistic way of looking at the situation?  What’s the probability that what you are scared about will actually happen?  How will worrying about it help you or hurt you?  What would you say to a friend who had this worry?
  5. Be aware of how others affect you. Emotions are contagious, and we can ‘catch’ moods from people, having an impact on our mental state.  Keep a worry diary, jotting down the worried thought you had and what triggered it.  Spend less time with people who make you anxious.  Know who to talk to about situations that make you anxious – some people will help you gain perspective, while others will feed into your worries, doubts, and fears.
  6. Practice mindfulness. Acknowledge and observe your anxious thoughts and feelings, let your worries go, and stay focused on the present.

Game Plan:  If you find that you’re feeling anxious or worried about something, try some of these tips that you think could work for you.  Remember that it’s natural to feel anxious and that it doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you, but don’t let it hold you back from enjoying the good.


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