Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere. – Glenn Turner
We all worry. The same wonderful tools our brain uses to imagine new innovations and solve complex problems, also has a habit of looking for trouble – even when it may not exist.
Mid-terms, budget overruns, bug counts, first dates, performance anxiety – worry likes to stick its nose into every aspect of our lives. No matter how silly or unlikely a scenario may seem, it is very real to you. Many have tried to overcome it completely, and some great masters may have. But for the rest of us, having some simple strategies to lessen or work with our worries can have a positive impact on our lives.
1 – Schedule time to worry. Often if your brain knows that you don’t want to worry right now, but you will allow it time to worry later, the worries will go away. Schedule 10 minutes in the morning, and 10 minutes in the evening to just worry. Many times, you won’t find anything to worry about, but it’s a way to get the mind to focus on things on your time-frame.
2 – Wipe them away. One trick is to imagine a windshield wiper smearing and wiping away the worry. When the image of the worry comes into your head, picture a wiper swishing back and forth, wiping it away. Usually after a couple of times, it will go away, at least for a short period.
3 – Write out a list of worries. Lots of personal development techniques revolve around writing things out. Just the act of putting things down on paper can help lessen anxieties.
4 – Do something about it. More often then not, the actual task or situation that we worry about turns out to be much less troubling than we imagined. If you jump in and try to do something about it, even just a small thing, the momentum and act of moving forward will lessen or alleviate the worry.
5 – Don’t lie awake. If you find that you tend to worry in the middle of the night, don’t just stay in bed and let the anxiety get the best of you. Get up and do something about it. Use one of the first 4 methods, or your own favorite technique, to get it out of your head. Worries tend to become intensified when we’re tired – and the dark and stillness of a room at night may not help much either. Demons, real and imagined, love that sort of thing.
Your worries are your own, and something you may have to live with, like a really annoying houseguest. Finding ways to deal with them may be your saving grace, because some houseguests can take a hint, while others just don’t know when to leave.
Tony D. Clark writes, draws cartoons, designs software and websites, and spends a lot of time talking others into working from home, being creative, and doing what they love. His blog Success from the Nest focuses on helping parents who want to do meaningful work from home and have more time for their families. His weekly podcast The Creative Venture is designed to bridge the gap between creativity and practical business knowledge, helping creative people turn their talents into a thriving business.