While we may have a tendency toward reacting certain ways, we are not a reluctant prisoner to those tendencies.
We all worry about things. They may be financial, health or age-related. They may be restrictive, compulsive and overwhelming. Some of our fears and anxieties have grown into huge giants that continue to exert their power over us.
Often we are unaware of our worries – they just lurk on the edge of our awareness until something brings it into focus. And we can worry about many things at the same time. It is estimated that up to 95% of our worry and the stress it creates are the result of worrying about trivial rather than important things in life.
We worry because we don’t take the time to clarify what we are worrying about.
Are you a worrier?
Nancy and Donald Tubesing, editors of “Structured Exercises in Stress Management, Vol. 2,” * suggest the following exercise to determine whether our worries have any importance. Take a piece of paper and write down all the things you are worrying about right now. Were you worrying about them last night, yesterday, last week?
Now take another piece of paper and make four columns on it. Under Col. 1, list all the worries that are under your control. In Col. 2, list all the worries that are not in your control. In Col. 3, list all the worries that are important but are not in your control and in Col. 4 list all the worries that are important and are in your control.
Look at your lists and ask yourself the following questions:
• What worries can I eliminate?
• What benefits do I get from worrying about them?
• Do I really want to hang onto them?
• Which worries are ones I want to work on by creating a plan of action to eliminate them?
• Which ones do I need to hand over to God and let go of them
Worrying is good only if it motivates us to take action of some kind. Otherwise it is a useless waste of energy.
When we feel in control of our lives, even an extremely anxiety-provoking situation may be seen as challenging rather than distressful. If we feel powerless, even the most trivial worry and concern become giants.
©2013 Marlene Anderson
*Nancy Loving Tubesing and Donald A. Tubesing, Editors, ©1994 Whole Person Associates, 210 W. Michigan, Duluth, MN 55802