Deb Sofield

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The Emotion of Worry

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I am continuing with my series on emotions. I started with anger because anger really hurts you and those around you. Remember, anger is a cancer to your soul. So, to have a happy life you have to let it go. Then I talked about the pain of shame. Shame is a Failure to Meet Your Own Standard of Behavior, and this emotion will play havoc in your life if you’re not careful. And I added in the thought that you that you should stop thinking that others have to accept your forgiveness for you to be forgiven. They don’t. Once you’ve done your part, you are now free, so walk away without the burden of shame. And then last week I spoke on jealousy, that green-eyed monster that will wreck your perfectly happy home and make you (a normal person) become insane with rage, keeping you up at night fretting over things you can’t control.

This week, the emotion I want to focus on is worry, and I have added that worry is a useless emotion, because worry keeps your focus from real things.

I love the Swahili phrase Hakuna Matata. It means no worries…for the rest of your days. Ah, friend, why do you waste hours worrying? Do you really think you can change the outcome by allowing your mind to wrestle with the thoughts or issues that are rolling around in your head for hours, or days or months? Listen, I know we all do it, but some people reading this today have allowed worry to consume them to the point that they have shut down and are not engaging with the world around them, and, friends, that is not a good idea.

What concerns me about people who worry over everything is that I find that for many it is a two-fold issue—one is of control and the other is a form of selfishness. Now I know you don’t often hear that, when some good soul is simply worrying about their world, but stop and listen next time a friend or family member starts with the I’m so worried line.

The act of worrying makes you think you’re taking action on an issue, when in reality you’re wasting time with the busyness of nothing, because you can’t do anything about it.

If you are a person of faith, I would contend that you should pray about the matter and let go and let God handle the situation. I know that is hard (I struggle with this also), but I know that, in the end, worrying gets you nowhere, but it gives you a knot in your stomach and a sense of agitation since you can’t make the issue go away sooner or unmake something happen.

In all my research it came up over and over that worry is the useless emotion because it does nothing but tear at the mental, emotional and physical fabric of your emotions.

Many of us are familiar with the verse in Matthew 6:34

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Isn’t that so true? Friends, deal with the issues you can manage today, then rest and let tomorrow come, and then deal with what happens at that point in your life.

I read an article in WebMD, which stated, Worrying is feeling uneasy or being overly concerned about a situation or problem. But with excessive worrying, your mind and body go into overdrive as you constantly focus on “what might happen.”

In the midst of excessive worrying, you may suffer with high anxiety, even panic, during waking hours. Many chronic worriers tell of feeling a sense of impending doom or unrealistic fears that only increase their worries. Ultra-sensitive to their environment and to the criticism of others, excessive worriers may see anything—and anyone—as a potential threat.

Chronic worrying affects your daily life so much that it could interfere with your appetite, lifestyle, relationships, sleep and job performance. Many people who worry excessively are so anxiety-ridden that they seek relief in harmful lifestyle habits such as overeating, smoking or using alcohol and drugs.

Just the idea that you would allow your amazing self—your power and energy and big ideas and hopeful dreams of your future—to fall so deeply into the abyss of physically harmful habits should be enough for you to stop the habit of worry.

You should stop worrying for many reasons; the most important is that you cannot do anything about it… so, while you’re wasting time worrying, others are working to get ahead in life. And the fact is you did it to yourself because you allowed your mind to control your heart and actions instead of harnessing the power of your mind and your mental abilities to move you forward in the direction of your dreams.

If you were to write down what you’re worried about today on a sheet of paper (and set it aside), I am pretty sure that issue that is taking up so much space in your head will look and feel and be different two weeks from now. Why? Because as Michael Miles says in his article on worry: “Things never happen the way you imagine. When you worry, you are in a sense trying to predict the future. You are saying, ‘I know that things will turn out badly.’ But this just isn’t the case. You have no idea how the future is going to turn out, except to say that it will not be what you think it will be. So why worry?”

Worry also means you give away your power. Some people are so entrenched in worry that they cannot see any other way to live, but worry robs you of your power to be proactive. The truth is that you are in control and you can choose how to react to situations, so why choose to give that power away so easily and so unconsciously? I’m not talking about you not doing your work and expecting the bills to be paid—that’s not a reasonable thought by any stretch of the imagination. No, what I’m hoping you will see is that the issue you’ve sweated out and worried about, cried about, yelled about (I’ve done that one) somehow over time seems to diminish.

Steve Maraboli has said, “How would your life be different if…you stopped worrying about things you can’t control and started focusing on the things you can? Let today be the day…you free yourself from fruitless worry, seize the day and take effective action on things you can change.”

I totally agree with him, and, friend, you should alsonbecause you don’t have that many days left in your life to waste on fruitless worry. We all should seize the day and take effective action on things we can change.

So what can you do? The reality is that it does no good for me or anyone else to say, don’t worry or calm down…What needs to happen is that you need to find a way to heal, either through the help of a licensed professional or through a solid understanding and belief about grace for your life. And when that happens, you find a way to (as Dr. Deepak Chopra says),

“…find your true self, become whole, and rise above the divided self. Even though worry is milder and less disabling than phobias or panic attacks, it’s important to heal if you want to find the kind of inner peace that no one can take away from you.”

The truth is this: You can’t change the past, but you can ruin the present by worrying about the future.

Let’s find a way to live that reflects the true beauty of who you are…who you were meant to be. Ah, friend, you are fearfully and wonderfully made; don’t ever take that for granted.

You are here for a reason. Don’t underestimate your gifts, your calling, your amazing life…and, certainly, don’t waste another minute worrying about things you can’t control.

Let it go and live free…

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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