October 16, 2009

Are You Wasting Yourself Away with Worry?

The reason why worry kills more people than work is that more people worry than work. — Robert Frost

Take a look at the origins of the word “worry” and you’ll see just how deadly this destructive habit can be.

The word “worry” comes from the Old English word “wrygan” meaning “to strangle.” No wonder the habit of worrying creates such tension and misery in our lives. When we worry, we strangle our creative energy and generate misery for ourselves and the people around us.

“I’m worried sick,” a client told me. Of course she felt sick — that’s what worrying does to us. It makes us sick. And what makes me sick about idea of worrying is a simple fact:

Worry is a choice. It’s always optional.

So we are the ones who make us worry. We’re choosing to make ourselves sick! You’d never think of eating a poisonous mushroom would you? Of course you wouldn’t. Why then would you poison yourself with worry?

It’s a habit we develop and nothing more. And all we have to do is decide to break it once and for all.

A Cure for Worry

You are the driver of that train called the mind. It’s your engine and your tracks. You have control over that train whether you take control or not. The first step in ending worry forever is therefore to see yourself as the driver of the train, to see yourself as someone who doesn’t worry.

The second and final step in ending worry forever is to make up your mind that you are going to be decisive and take useful action about situations that you used to worry over. That’s because worry is really just a habit of inaction fueled by indecision!

I like what Steve Chandler says about worry in his book, 17 Lies That Are Holding You Back. “Worry is an abuse of imagination.”

You have more imagination at your beck and call than you may know. Use imagination instead of worry to put your mind at ease and end the cycle of inaction and indecision.

Here’s how:

When faced with a situation about which you’d usually choose to worry, turn it into an opportunity to ask bigger questions about it. For example, suppose you have a big job interview tomorrow. Rather than waste your time worrying about what the interviewer will think of you, or on whether you’ll get the job or not, ask yourself big questions such as:

  • What besides money do I want from this job?
  • What’s the best, most useful action I can take right now about that opportunity?
  • What sort of questions do I want to ask the interviewer so I can decide whether I want to work for this company or not?
  • What else might I learn about this opportunity that will help me better understand how I can best serve it?

Write the answers to your questions down. Don’t strangle yourself with worry! Look for ways to take useful action, then act.

Act with the knowledge that you never have to worry again!

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