A friend has this quotation on his office wall: “I know worry works because nothing I worry about ever happens.” Before my cancer diagnosis, I think I must have believed that, because I worried a lot — and about the most insignificant things. I worried about the big things, of course, like health, relationships, and finances. But I’m also fret about anything and everything that found its way into my consciousness. Facing a life and death situation has a way of bringing about a new sense of clarity. Here are a few tips that may help you get of the worry train.
I practice catching myself at it. “Hey, I’m worrying again! What I’ve learned is that worry is a mental habit. I can change habits; I’ve done it before. There’s hope. My second approach is to practice presence. By this I mean stopping my thoughts. I relish that moment of quiet before my thoughts re-engage. There is no future or past, just Now. No worrying thoughts — no thoughts at all. It’s a peaceful place, which is why I stretch the moment. I want to strengthen the connection to something greater than my worries. 3When I told my good friend about my worry reflection, she told me about her approach, which is to do one of three things: decide to address the issue right then; if you can’t do anything about it at the moment, give yourself a time to address it later; or decide that it is not important and let it go.
In other words, act on it, file it or throw it away. Finally, one of my favorite worry stoppers is to sing. Connect with yourself, your creativity, and the place where everything really is okay. Awareness and acknowledgment are the keys to changing our habits. Are you worrying? Stop your thoughts for a moment. Listen to the sounds around you, pay attention, and be present to this key moment. And smile . . . for no reason. You may find that’s the best reason of all.