No Worries for the Rest of Your Days?
No worries for the rest of your days…where do we sign up?
A life without worry really does sound like a wonderful thing but is it realistic? Believe it or not, it could be possible. But the truth is, we all have times when we worry. We worry about doing well on a test, we worry about fights with friends, we worry about making the team and we worry about being liked. And that’s just at the top of the list. Unfortunately, we can find lots and lots of things to worry about.
So how on earth can it be possible to live a life without worries? Well, it’s not easy but it may help to learn a little bit about worrying and learn some strategies for conquering it. A lot of times the words fear and worry are used the same way. “I that I will trip over my backpack when I walk up to my teacher’s desk.” Fear or worry fits, right? Not when you understand the difference between the two.
Worry is something we do to ourselves, it’s voluntary we can choose to worry or not to worry. Fear, though, is involuntary. We have no control over it. Fear is a reaction, an instinct. Worry is something that we feel when we are anticipating something. We feel fear when there is something happening to us right hear and right now. Now can you see how that sentence doesn’t make sense when you put fear in the blank?
Okay, it’s splitting hairs – agreed. Worrying does not feel like it is voluntary and is most definitely not something that we would choose to do. When we are worrying about something that we have no control over or that hasn’t happened yet, worry does nothing to help us. If it is hard to stop worrying and if you find that worrying is overwhelming you, making you sad or keeping your from doing things you like, talk to a parent, older sibling, aunt or anyone else you trust. Tell them about your worries, they love you and will help you deal with the issue that you are struggling with.
Surprisingly, there are some upsides to worrying. Worrying can help you creatively think about solutions. When we choose worry as a way to find solutions, we make better choices and feel more in control. When we feel in control of our life, we feel empowered.
So – what are some ways we can deal with and keep worry under control?
- Try rubbing a Worry Stone. A worry stone is a small, flat stone that you can easily hold in your hand. Rubbing your thumb on the worry stone helps to calm you in the same way that a pacifier used to calm you when you were a baby. Worry stones are especially helpful if you tend to bight your nails when you worry.
- Set up a Worry Jar or a Worry Box. Plan a time each day where you will sit down with your worries. Write each issue on a small piece of paper. Set a timer to worry about what’s on that paper for 2-3 minutes. (Spoiler alert: you will probably not have enough worrying to fill the 2-3 minutes.) Go ahead, let yourself worry and when you are done or when the timer goes off, it’s time to stop worrying about that issue. Put the paper in the box or the jar and put the worry away. If you find yourself worrying about that thing another time in the day, say to yourself – “I’ve already spent enough time worrying about that and have put it away. I won’t worry about it again until it’s ‘worry time’.” This is a great way to train your mind to not waste time worrying about the same things over and over again.
- Start a journal. Collect pictures, draw something and write down all of the thoughts and feelings that you are having. They don’t have to make sense and they don’t have to be in any particular order. When you are creating your journal it gives you something productive to do with your worrying. It also puts all of your thoughts and feeling right in front of you. A lot of times when we can see these things right in front of us, they don’t seem so scary or troubling.
Here are some ideas (called prompts in the journaling world) that can help you get started.
- Finish the sentence “Right now I…” then finish the sentence “I want to be…”
- Write an acrostic poem about what you are worrying about or what you wish you could change
- Answer these two questions about your worry: 1. What is the worst thing that could happen? 2. What is the best thing that could happen?
To get you started on your journal, here is a journal page that we started for you. You can download it here.
What types of things do you worry about? Do you find that worrying helps you to solve problems or just takes up time? I think we’ll find that we all worry about similar things.