Life comes with its fair share of uncertainties that often breed anxiety and worry. This is a mental state many of us find ourselves in more often than not. We invest a lot of energy pondering on things beyond our control. However, it’s helpful to understand that worry isn’t just futile; it can be harmful. To quote Corrie ten Boom, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”
Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives us something to do, but it doesn’t take us anywhere. It’s a mentally draining activity that detracts from our ability to enjoy the present and prevents us from taking actions that could positively impact our future.
The Worry Cycle
Worry often initiates a self-perpetuating cycle. It’s a reaction to stress and uncertainty, which, in turn, can generate more stress and uncertainty. It’s like adding fuel to a fire: the more we worry, the more we feed our anxiety, and the harder it becomes to break free from this exhausting cycle. It can paralyse us and stop us taking action, stunt our growth and ultimately create more stress and worry.
Worry’s Impact on Today’s Strength
In the whirlwind of worry, we often become consumed with the ‘what ifs’ that so often we rob ourselves of the joy and potential of the moment. This not only saps our energy but can also impede our capacity to deal with actual problems when they arise.
Anxiety often makes us focus on future uncertainties at the expense of the present, yet the present moment, , is the only reality we can act upon. By bringing our focus back to the here and now, we can begin to reclaim our strength and create a more positive influence on our future selves.
Breaking Free from Worry
Shifting away from worry requires conscious effort. It involves learning to differentiate between what is within our control and what isn’t, and directing our energy towards the former.
Another method is to rationalise our fears. It involves asking ourselves how likely our feared scenarios are and what we can do if they come to pass. This can often help diminish the power of our anxieties.
10 Steps to tackling worry
- Identify Your Triggers: The first step to manage anxiety is to understand what triggers it. Keep a journal and note down situations, people, or thoughts that trigger feelings of worry and anxiety.
- Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness involves staying present and fully engaged with what you’re doing at the moment. It can help you break free from negative thought patterns that fuel anxiety.
- Challenge Negative Thoughts: Question your anxious thoughts. Are they rational? Are they helpful? Learning to challenge these thoughts can reduce your anxiety and help you take positive actions.
- Deep Breathing Exercises: Deep, controlled breathing can help calm your body and mind, reducing anxiety.
- Physical Exercise: Regular exercise can help reduce anxiety by boosting your mood and acting as a natural stress reducer.
- Healthy Diet: A well-balanced diet can keep your energy levels stable and help prevent mood swings, thus reducing anxiety levels.
- Quality Sleep: Lack of sleep can exacerbate anxiety. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule and create a calming bedtime routine.
- Stay Connected: Keeping in touch with supportive friends and family can provide comfort and reduce feelings of anxiety.
- Limit Alcohol and Caffeine: These substances can trigger or worsen anxiety. Try to limit your intake.
- Seek Help: If your anxiety feels overwhelming and interferes with your daily life, don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional and trusted friends. They can provide you with the tools and strategies to effectively manage your anxiety.
Daily Change Summary
Worry and anxiety does not remove tomorrows sorrow, it drains today of its strength. Learn to manage your worries effectively to protect your energy and embrace the full potential of today. Use the tools of mindfulness, rationalisation, and professional help when necessary. Live fully in the present and build a stronger, worry-free future.