We all worry and as a result, we often times feel anxious, overwhelmed, and nervous. Worrying often happens as a result of fear – fear of the future, fear of what is going to happen, fear of not having control – it’s the fear of uncertainty.
However, life is uncertain – we don’t know what is going to happen. The past is gone, the future hasn’t come. All we have is the present moment.
Worrying comes in two forms:
- Healthy worry
- Excessive worry
Healthy worry is normal and a natural part of human nature. This type of worry happens when you are anxious about something and as a result, you do something about it. You create a plan to combat your worry and anxiety. For example:
- You are worried that you won’t get a good grade on a test so you study more than you would
- You are worried that your relationship with your best friend is diminishing, so you make a plan to see her
- You are worried about having enough money to retire so you hire a professional to help you plan for retirement.
This type of worrying is normal and necessary and propels you in the direction to DO something.
Excessive or unecessary worry is when you overthink and send yourself into a downward spiral that causes you to feel anxious, stuck, and overwhelmed.
- You are worried about a date – you’re worried you won’t look good enough and begin to focus on what you don’t like about yourself, thinking your date won’t like you, and convinced you’re not good enough. As a result, you feel deflated and cancel the date.
Do you see the difference between healthy and excessive worry?
Healthy worry propels you to take action whereas excessive worry inhibits you from taking action. The main difference between the two is the mindset you have when you first feel worried.
When you first start feeling worried and anxious – tell yourself that you have a choice about how you can approach it
- YOU have a choice of how you RESPOND to your worry
- YOU have a choice of how you HANDLE your worry
You CAN turn excessive worry into healthy worry, and vice versa, depending upon the way you think about it. Therefore, to change any type of worry into positive action, you first have to understand that you are in control.
When you find yourself worrying, ask yourself:
- What am I currently worried about?
- Will this situation matter in a year from now? 2 years? 5 years?
- What can I do in this situation to make myself feel better? What do I have control over?
- What are the immediate steps that I can take to change my current situation into a positive?
Overall…remember that we all worry and it’s natural and normal – it’s our brains way of protecting and preparing us for the uncertain future. It’s what we do about our worrying that matters.