Has anything really good come out of your worry?
I know that I used to think that by somehow obsessing over a person or an outcome to the point of fixation that I could magically create a right outcome… and that if I stopped the worry, I would leave whoever or whatever I worried over at a vast disadvantage. Pretty self-important and incorrect thoughts!
Have you done anything like this with your own creative worry?
Science has proven time and again that worry just breeds more concerns to worry about. We all know that is true on some level, though many of us have found ways to worry that become routine- in self-isolation, in clinging on to things, in hysterical outbursts or even obsession with divination tools.
No matter what way you slice it, worry is fueled by chemicals that damage your body. Worry is tainted with fantasies of horrible outcomes. And worry sucks. So, let’s first look at how much worry sucks … and then, let’s finally decide to be done with it!
Worry as a habit is very destructive to your mind, body and relationships. A Case Western Reserve study in 2011 found that worrying has a tendency to drive people away from you in a worrisome (!) manner. Researchers found that chronic worriers ” put social relationships with family, friends, or coworkers at the top of their lists of worries, but the negative methods they use to cope — from over-nurturing to extreme detachment — may be destructive.”
In his Psychology Today article Time To Worry About Worry, David Ropeik writes about the negative effects of worry in even more detail:
• Persistently elevated blood pressure and heart rate raises your risk of cardiovascular disease, which is already the leading cause of death in the developed world.
• A depressed immune system makes it harder for your body to fight off all sorts of diseases, including cancer, or battle them once you do get sick.
• Stress reduces the protective fluids in the lining of the digestive system exacerbating the risk and severity of ulcers and other digestive disorders.
• Stress changes blood chemistry, and if persistent, those changes raise your risk of diabetes.
• Those chemistry changes are also why chronic stress is associated with greater likelihood of clinical depression.
• Chronic stress impairs the formation of new fast-growing cells, like bone, and hair. Worry a lot, for a long time, and you can go bald.
• Chronic stress reduces your ability to form some new memories, and recall others. At high levels, stress literally dumbs you down.
• You don’t need to worry about making babies when the lion is attacking, so stress depresses fertility.
So, the next time you feel justified in worrying yourself over something, you may want to interrupt the cycle.
You might want to try…
Writing out why you are worried on paper so you can see it out of your imagination and on a page. Usually it seems ludicrous to me when I write out exaggerated worries that spin in my mind.
Saying something that reminds you to switch gears. A great psychologist taught me to say “Cancel-Cancel” every time I caught myself entertaining wild worry thoughts. You may have your own “Cancel-Cancel” words, or you can try it this way. I do often, and less often these days as the habit fades.
Seeing a great councelor or therapist who will not indulge you in your worries. Therapists who let you complain endlessly will not likely help you shift your worry habit.
Or my favorite way…
Get really into things that make you happy! If you immerse yourself in things you love, you will have little time to sink into the space of worry.
We may all worry from time to time, but there are far better things to do than dream about bad outcomes! Here’s to a mindscape of peace, love & artistry!
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