Working With Worry

IMG_4306(troubled sand)

Worry: From Old English “wyrgan” or German “wurgen,” to strangle.  One definition: “to torment oneself with or suffer from disturbing thoughts.”

It is finally sinking in for me that we cause a lot of our own stress.  We are the only ones who can really work with our own minds.  We can have guides or sounding boards, but in the end it is up to us to change what goes on in our minds.  Only we can know what’s really going on in there.

The word can be used in different ways.  I can “worry something” like a scab, or I can “worry about something” happening in the future.  In both cases, I’m piling up stress onto whatever situation is occurring.  No doubt, many situations might be “cause for worry,” but what happens if we lean into our tendency to worry?

I’ve been a lifelong worrier, so I’ve had a lot of practice observing this feeling of being strangled and self-torment.  Currently a personal situation is allowing me to face this head-on.  Just me and worry in the ring for an extended period of time.  It’s really interesting what happens when I shine a light on it.  Worry becomes more like a shadow boxer.  Calm and reassurance ensues.

Then I watch a sifting take place where either solid solutions or soothing pop up like little bubbles in response to whatever “substance” there is for the worry.

Q&A I find helpful:

  1. What can I do about the perceived cause of my worry?  If the answer is “nothing,” let it go. If the answer is “something,” do that thing.
  2. Where do I feel worry in my body?  Relax it.
  3. Is the worry about something that hasn’t happened?  (99 times out of 100 it is).  Possibilities: Go for a walk, listen to calming music, take deep breaths, sit with the feeling and wave hello to it. Whatever you do, do not eat an entire bag of crunchy-munchies. You will feel sick tomorrow. Listen to your heart racing and see if you can count the beats. The beats usually slow.
  4. Isn’t it weird how close “Worrier” is to “Warrior”?  Yup.  Take that, worry.



About Erin W

A sensitive plant, bamboo strong.
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