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Cliff’s Priority #2 Do you worry too much?

A very important priority for me is to reduce my excessive worrying. Have you ever gotten to a point where you feel like you’re worrying about everything — a point where there’s an almost constant buzz of anxiety just waiting to bubble up to the surface? I’m sure that many highly sensitive people can relate to this fretful state of mind!

One thing I’ve realized is that worry is a mindset. Once you’re caught up in the belief that everything is just about to fall apart, your brain will automatically seek evidence to validate that belief. It’s called confirmation bias. My plan is to catch myself and try to shift my state of mind before my worries get out of hand. I’m going to do this by taking a rational look at the purpose and usefulness of worry.

Is worry productive? I wish it was! If it were, I’d be the most productive person in the universe…LOL!  Think about it logically. Does worry affect outcomes? If you’re waiting for the results of a medical test,  and you worry yourself into a frenzy, will that somehow ensure that you get the results you were hoping for? Or will the results be the results, regardless of how much you worry?

The only thing worry will actually do is make you feel bad and amplify your anxiety even more. Most likely, your imagination will anticipate many negative scenarios that never come to pass. When I get caught in a worried state of mind, I find it helpful to remind myself of its uselessness. Otherwise, worry will rob me of inner peace and mental clarity. If I’m not careful, it will also compromise my immune system and make me sick!

How have I come to believe that if I truly care about a person or situation, then it is my duty to worry? I’m not sure if this type of thinking is an HSP trait or not, but I simply can’t take on all of life’s problems. It’s too draining! Instead of worrying, a much more productive thing to do would be to consider whether or not there’s an action I can take to alleviate my concern. If I can be helpful in a situation, of course I’ll do whatever I can.

In my case, my worry is often due to impatience when things are not moving as quickly as I would like. I want to have more control of a situation. If I feel out of control, I worry that I’m going to fail in that pursuit. I have come to realize that real, long-lasting growth happens very slowly. As I become patient enough, I will relish the small growth that I make on a regular basis.

I know that I can’t be afraid of failure, since that fear can lead to inertia. While I’ll take every action I can to ensure success, it’s important for me to remember that there will always be factors that I can’t control. There’s no point in worrying about things I can’t control. I refuse to beat myself up if things don’t work out the way I want, especially when I put forth my best effort. Failure is part of a lifetime process, and it will help me grow. Like many people, it’s possible I may even have to fail my way to success!

It’s unreasonable to think that there are no reasons to worry. There will always be legitimate reasons to have concern. I plan to question what is bothering me and see if I can do anything about it. I need to have selective rather than generalized worry. If I do that, I’ll have the energy to constructively handle a situation.

Do you have other suggestions on how to handle worry? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.

My next regular blog post on Wednesday, January 23rd, will be about another priority that I have. It’s about doing what I was meant to do.


This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Jan van Voorst

    Everything can be related back to a mindset. That is intellectual humbug to me. Worry is part of life and sometimes it is harder to control than at other moments. If you feel out of control, then be out of control. You may have good reasons for this. Simply try to find some kind of a balance between all your characteristics, including worry. That is a lifetime assignment to me. But to push worry out of the way and under the rug, is not my idea of dealing with it. In addition, some people worry more than others. So what, do I wonder?

  2. Cliff Harwin

    Hi Jan,

    Finding balance is definitely the key! It’s hard to break bad habits. Awareness that worry is destructive helps. It’s taking me a lifetime to figure this out. Hopefully I’ll become wiser with age.

  3. Amy

    I agree, Cliff. Excessive worry is a dangerous mindset! Once you go down the perilous path of worry, fear, and anxiety, your negative thoughts will only pick up steam. You’ll start to see everything through a lens of fear, and your judgment will be clouded. We often worry about things we can’t control, or things that never come to pass. Why waste the energy and amplify your own suffering? A better approach, as you suggest, is to focus on constructive action rather than useless fretting.

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Hi Amy,

      We can’t let the “worry train” run us over! It’s easy to let worry pick up steam and get out of control. The key is recognize it and put it in its proper perspective.

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