I’ve always been a worry-wart. For as long as I can remember, I’ve worried about almost everything. When I was little, I even asked my mom what a mortgage was and how I would afford to pay one when I grew up. I worry about big things, little things, and everything in between.
The frustrating thing is that for the most part my worrying is absolutely useless.
For example, let’s say I’m worried that something bad will happen. And then that bad thing happens. My worry didn’t prevent the situation, and it definitely won’t help me once the situation has taken place.
Similarly, let’s say I’m worried that something bad will happen. And then that bad thing doesn’t happen. Well what was the point of my worry?
Over the years I’ve gotten better at noticing my worry and using tools like yoga and meditation to keep it in check. But it still creeps up on me like an old friend (or perhaps enemy) who just doesn’t want to take a permanent leave of absence – especially during big transitions in my life.
This month has been full of transitions. I moved from Canada to the Czech Republic – a process that brought out my worry-wart with a vengeance. I was worried about finding an apartment, learning the language, getting my visa paperwork sorted out, and not having all of the possessions that make me feel safe and secure.
Throughout this transition, some of my worries came true. For example, the transition into my new apartment wasn’t exactly smooth. The apartment was supposed to be furnished, but when I arrived the bed was missing. There had been a miscommunication between my landlord and rental agent, and the previous tenant ended up taking the bed. So I had to spend an extra night in a hotel, and then sleep on a chair for two nights. But guess what? The world didn’t end.
Some of my other worries, however, didn’t even come close to happening. One of my worries, for example, was that it would be hard for me to access fresh fruits, vegetables, and healthy food in general. My husband is Czech, and while my experiences with Czech food have been tasty, the cuisine that I’ve tried hasn’t usually involved a lot of fresh produce.
Well, within four days of being in Prague I found a juice bar that’s a five minute walk from my apartment. I also visited my husband’s relatives who provided us with an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables from their garden and who informed us that there’s a farmer’s market every Saturday close to our new place. I even found a vegetarian restaurant and a store that sells organic and gluten-free products. I didn’t look any of these things up online – I just happened to come across them while exploring.
My point here is that all of my worrying was a waste of energy. Some frustrating things happened, and some great things happened. My worrying didn’t change any of it.
So for the next few weeks, whenever I start worrying, I’m going to try to take a mindful approach. When worries come up, I’ll notice them and label them as worries. But, as much as possible, I’m going to try not to engage with the worries. I’ll try to watch them float by, like credits on a movie screen, and remind myself that regardless of how much I worry, things will happen – both good and bad – and that:
What about you? What role does worry play in your life, and how do you manage it? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Bethany Butzer, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, researcher, and yoga teacher who helps people create a life they love. Check out her book, The Antidepressant Antidote, follow her on Facebook and Twitter, and join her whole-self health revolution.
If you’d like tips on how to create a life you love, plus some personal instruction from Bethany, check out her online course, Creating A Life You Love: Find Your Passion, Live Your Purpose and Create Financial Freedom.
Image courtesy of Aaron Burden.