Jay Rifenbary

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Don't Be a Worrywart

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One of the most emotionally debilitating and energy draining behaviors is worrying. Worry is defined as, “a state of anxiety and uncertainly over actual or potential problems.” A worrywart is defined as, “a person who tends to dwell unduly on difficulty or troubles.” To be concerned about an issue can be beneficial when the concern stems from the awareness that action needs to be taken to solve the issue at hand. To worry and not take accountability for what might be troubling you can precipitate discouragement, anxiety and depression. Life is too short to pass the time worrying when there is so much joy to experience from living. Taking the initiative to rectify a problem is a catalyst for both personal and professional development. To work through what you are worried about also adds clarity to the validity of the worry. You may discover that what is troubling you is not nearly as detrimental as you initially thought.

We all possess personal dysfunctions, face challenges and experience disappointments. To dwell on the negative tires the mind, body and soul. Adding pessimism with worry is a recipe for misery. There is no benefit to anyone, especially yourself, by being a “Debbie Downer”. The result is a pushback from those around you and even those who love you. No one desires to be emotionally drained by another. When worry presents itself, it is an opportunity to reflect on the values important to you. To effectively address what you worry about will be directed by the values you believe in. Without values there is little strength, and without internal strength worry wins. As Confucius stated, “If you look into your own heart, and you find nothing wrong there, what is there to worry about? What is there to fear?”

Being personally honest in thought aligned with behavior lessens the necessity to worry because you are being true to who you are. It is also imperative to understand the world does not revolve around your individual agenda. To worry about what is out of your control steals time and energy away from those areas of your life that may need attention. It allows what might have been, and what might be, to dominate over what is now. It becomes an excuse for not taking ownership for the present. Personal insecurities and a lack of self-confidence manifest the degree to which you worry. The more you act on the values you believe in, the greater the consistency in behavior, the more secure you are with yourself and the less need to worry.

Five action steps to diminish worry in your life are: * Replace the word worry with concern. Concern is defined as, “a matter of interest or importance to someone”, and as a verb, “be relevant or important to; affect or involve.” To be concerned denotes a degree of importance and the necessity to take action. * Be specific in what you are concerned about. To worry each day about your future is non-specific and emotionally unhealthy. To be concerned about the job market is valid, and what actions are you taking to prepare for other career opportunities? To worry about global economic markets is unreasonable for most. To be concerned about your own economic situation is reasonable and what actions are you taking to ensure your own financial house is in order? To worry about how long you will live is irrational. To be concerned with your lifestyle is legitimate and what action steps are you taking to live a healthier life? * Keep it simple. The simpler your life is the happier you will tend to be because the less you have to responsible for. The more stuff you bring into your life the more complicated it becomes and the greater potential to create worry. * Reflect on, and prioritize what common concerns you have and take ownership in generating a solution to resolve those concerns. * Live the values you believe in. They provide the foundation for effective decision-making and enable greater focus on what you are concerned with. As Gandhi eloquently stated, “There is nothing that wastes the body like worry, and one who has any faith in God should be ashamed to worry about anything whatsoever.”



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