Why Worrying Doesn’t Work

Living Well

When my son was five, he received a set of Worry Dolls as a present. He decided to keep the tiny decorative box and throw away the dolls so he would have no worries.

Worrying is the most practiced form of meditation in the world – visualizing life at its worst by imagining unwanted scenarios until negative thoughts become our go-to perception and expectation. And the result is stressed minds, unhealthy bodies and diminished lives.

Worrying, as a way to approach a problem, is a big part of the problem. And focusing negatively on problems won’t solve them.

Then what works better? Thinking about what we want instead.

Getting clear about where we want to go will keep us from ending up somewhere else, so it’s important to visualize a positive desired outcome.

Rather than feel overwhelmed or victimized, we can take sensible, constructive actions. We can keep a list of issues that need attention. And at a workable time, we can ask clarifying questions about each issue on the list.

  • Is my concern valid?
  • What’s the evidence?
  • What are some possible solutions?
  • What are advantages and disadvantages of each solution, and which solution is best?
  • What action can I take, and what will be my first step?

What about our loved ones?

We support our loved ones best by loving them. And it isn’t possible to worry about them and love them at the same time, because worry is fear-based and love is not.

Loving people means staying focused on the best qualities in them and the best circumstances for them, so that the best-case scenario is the only outcome we can imagine. It means trusting in their abilities to find their necessary answers and to create positive change for themselves.

The goal is to manage our problems and find solutions, without being motivated by fear. By handling our issues effectively, we can depower fear-based thoughts and keep a healthy outlook in the present moment.

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Author, Blogger, Contributor to Thrive Global, The Good Men Project and HuffPost