My son, John, and I were having a discussion over dinner recently which explored why people cling to habits of worrying. We agreed worrying happens to all of us at one time or another, and since we are all emotional beings, we can’t really escape it. Feeling and expressing emotions is a healthy thing….it’s what makes us feel alive. But, you can and should try to manage your worry so worrisome thoughts don’t override present moments. I’ve allowed my worry or “overactive imagination” (as a friend once politely commented) to occasionally linger over the beauty of present moments more than I’d like over the last few years, so managing worry is something I am personally paying close attention to. I used to think because I had “good reason” or “I’m Italian” (a cheeky myth) it was acceptable, but ultimately, if we want to grow spiritually, we must be aware of how often we are worrying, and find ways to manage it.
My son has a refreshing way of looking at this topic. He simply offers, “When you are feeling in a worried mood, ask yourself this simple question…what do you gain from worrying?” That’s a fantastic question. And the answer is….nothing. Worrying doesn’t change the outcome, it just keeps you in suspension from truly living.
A friend equated worry with a rocking chair. She said:
“Worrying is like a rocking chair; it goes back and forth and gets you no where!”
If you find yourself having a worried day, break the cycle. Picture this rocking chair and imagine yourself getting on your feet, and doing something else…take a relaxing bath, go for a walk, read a book, listen to your favorite CD….do anything else that will bring you joy.