Monday, October 13, 2008
We have all had the experience of worrying about something at some point in our lives. Some of us have a habitual tendency to worry, and all of us have known someone who is a chronic worrier. Worry is an extension of fear and can be a very draining experience. In order for worry to exist, we have to imagine that something bad might happen. What we are worrying about has not happened yet, however, so this bad thing is by definition a fantasy. Understood this way, worry is a self-created state of needless fear. Still, most of us worry.
One reason we worry is because we feel like we're not in control. For example, you might worry about your loved ones driving home in bad weather. There is nothing you can do to guarantee their safe passage, but you worry until you find out they have reached their destination unharmed. In this instance, worry is an attempt to feel useful and in control. However, worrying does nothing to ensure a positive outcome and it has an unpleasant effect on your body, mind, and spirit. The good news is that there are ways to transform this kind of worry so that it has a healing effect. Just as worry uses the imagination, so does the antidote to worry. Next time you find that you are worrying, imagine the best result instead of anticipating the worst outcome. Visualize your loved ones' path bathed in white light and clearly see in your mind's eye their safe arrival. Imagine angels or guides watching over them as they make their way home. Generate peace and well-being instead of nervousness and unease within yourself.
Another reason we worry is that something that we know is pending but are avoiding is nagging us-an unpaid parking ticket, an upcoming test, an issue with a friend. In these cases, acknowledging that we are worried and taking action is the best solution. If you can confront the situation and own your power to change it, you'll have no reason to worry.
For as long as I can remember, I have been a worrier. As a child, I would make myself sick with worry, and the habit continued into adulthood. I've tried therapy, medication, church, self-help groups, hypnosis, you name it..anything to stop the constant voice of doom booming through my brain. Some things helped a bit, others not so much, but I've learned to turn down the anxiety to a manageable level - most of the time. However, when life gets unusually hectic or there's big changes on the horizon, I easily slip back into my anxious mode and allow the worry to consume me. Now is one of those times. I was up and down all night with random thoughts running through my head, and when I was able to slip into a fitful sleep I was then overcome with ugly, frightening dreams.
Suffice it to say I'm not in the best frame of mind this morning, so I'm doing a bit of pondering and soul searching, reaching for the tried & true tools that worked in the past when I found myself in this state.
First, I made a list of the issues that are causing me the most grief, and I'll share them here along with any possible action I can take to rectify the situation:
Mom's Health. This one is a biggie, and what I worried about most as a little girl. She was often sick and in the hospital (illnesses unrelated to what she's going through now) and I was terrified of losing her, just as I am today. What can I do? Absolutely nothing. She's getting the best medical care possible and the only thing for me to do is continue to stay positive and spend as much time with her as possible.
Beren's children. This is first and foremost in my mind as we they were visiting us over the weekend so the issues were able to rear their ugly heads. I'm tired of spending two days nervous and strained, uncomfortable in my own home. What can I do? Well, we have had numerous talks with them in an attempt to make things better but at this point we've hit a wall. Other than therapy which they are not receptive to, I fear that I'm at a loss. The only action I can take right now is to continue to care for them and be open to discussion/change when they are ready. I have to take a step back from the situation and untangle myself from the emotions just a bit; the situation is taking a toll on me physically at this point and I have got to stop that before it gets worse.
Lily's Possible Move. She's been talking about this for some time, has made two road trips to check out the town & college she's considering. Though I realize that it's a normal, natural progression - kids go away to school, I truly don't think she's prepared for it, not emotionally or financially. This is no reflection on her, we all think we are invincible and immortal at 18, but I am terrified for her nonetheless. What can I do? Probably not much. I've laid out my concerns, have clearly told her how much money she can count on from me, the rest is up to her. All I can do is love her and support her as best I can while feeling strongly that this particular decision is a mistake. Letting go is the hardest thing, it really is.
Money. I'm not alone in this, every day I hear friends and acquaintances bemoan the economy, worrying about what they are going to do if it doesn't pick up. In 6 months or so I'm going to lose a chunk of monthly income and need to prepare for that, but there are too many unknown variables for me to make a concrete decision at this point. So, what to do? Tweak the budget more, watch our expenses, tighten our belts, and hope for the best.
My Weight. If I were completely honest I'd put this closer to the top of the list because it truly affects nearly every other aspect of my life. Worry = emotional eating = weight gain = low self-esteem = more emotional eating. Stuff the feelings down because there's apparently not a damned thing I can do to rectify any of the above issues so I might as well console myself with cake, right? What can I do? This is perhaps the hardest one of all because I actually can do something proactive and positive yet it's so f-ing hard! I need to eat healthier and exercise. Period. Starting today, starting now, no matter what else. I must, absolutely must start taking better care of myself or I'm going to add my own ill health to this list of worries.
So, that's where my head is this morning. I am actually at home today, have some things to take care of that prohibit me from going in to the office, so I have time to think (not worry) some more and make a plan of action.
If anyone has thoughts or suggestions I am wide open for them.
Thank you, and Blessings...