by Kathi Szabo
Why do we worry?
For most of my life I tended to worry. I worried about money. I worried about being punctual. Heck, I worried about what people would think.
Worry as a verb is giving way to anxiety or unease. It’s letting the mind dwell on the difficulty of things that have happened as well as things that haven’t even happened.
Worry as a noun is that state of uncertainty over actual or potential problems.
Why do we worry?
It serves no purpose.
It solves nothing.
Why worry if it’s already happened?
And if it MAY happen, again, why worry?
Think about it, what happens when you worry? Me? I hear a voice in my head pointing out all the potentially bad things that could happen. What if this and what if that?
Yes, what if I cross the street and get hit by a bus? I’m most likely dead. But do I worry when I cross the street? Of course not. I check for cars and buses and I consciously walk across the street.
So why when we are attempting other things, like a new job, moving across the country, or traveling to a new place, do we start worrying about all the potential things that could go wrong? Is it riskier? Maybe, but maybe not. Is it scarier? Perhaps.
Yet there is still no resolution when we worry.
Take for instance starting our Happy Herb Farm here at Eclectic Sanctuary.
There could be a lot to worry about. Is the soil in good condition? WIll the deer and rabbits eat our crops? What if we get an infestation? What if nothing comes up? My monkey mind could go on and on and on.
Now some of those issues are things I should think about. But thinking about something in order to develop a plan of action is not worrying. That’s what I call stratagizing or pondering.
There is an issue at hand, but we think about it to come up with a solution.
Is the soil in good condition? Worry would be having that thought and then thinking about all the things that could go wrong assuming it’s not in good condition. But if my monkey mind asks the question and I instead logically process this and with reasoning think, “I don’t know. Maybe we should get the soil tested.”
See the difference.
One train of thought takes control of the monkey mind and those ANTs, Automatic Negative Thoughts burrow in our heads so they fester. That festering becomes worrying. When we take the power of our mind away from the ANTs and the monkey mind, we can calmly and rationally think of solutions for whatever the potential problem may be.
Let’s look at another example.
Concern for those we love.
I’ve heard my mom say time and time again, “I’m worried about your brother.” Or, “I’m worried about Aunt Margie.” Or whoever is having issues at the time.
If we go to our definition of worrying as giving way to anxiety or unease, when we “worry” about those we love, we are doing nothing more than harming ourselves. Putting ourselves into a state of anxiety or unease doesn’t help the one we love. Yet so many find themselves worrying about their children, their spouse, friends, or other family members.
“But if I’m not worried about them, doesn’t that mean I don’t care?”
Not at all! Worrying assumes that something bad is going to happen. It’s letting those ANTs take control. And ANTs are all about bad things happening. If we are worried about someone we love, we assume they can’t solve their own issues or problems. Is this helping anyone?
And allowing those excessive negative thoughts to continue can be detrimental to our own psyche and our own well-being.
So, what can you do when you are concerned about a loved one instead of worrying?
Be hopeful. Lend an ear. If they ask for help, ponder solutions with them. If they don’t ask for help, send them hope and love.
Worrying, whether about ourselves or others, is just not good for anyone!
Worrying focuses the mind on the exact things we don’t want to happen.
“Where focus goes, energy flows.”
A phrase linked to mindset guru, Tony Robbins. It’s true and there is science to back it up.
When we worry, our focus is on the negative. We are thinking about all the bad shit that could happen. And when we think negative thoughts, our mind is going to show us more of what we are thinking.
Think about this logically. Have you ever played a game where you were asked to look for all the things red in a room? For 30 seconds or so you focus on the room and everything that is red. But then you are asked, what color was the ceiling, and you have no idea because it wasn’t red. You were focused on the color red. Your mind showed you everything that was red, but it eliminated most of everything else.
The same thing happens when we worry. When we worry, we are focused on all the bad things that COULD happen but may not. In a way, we are telling our minds to look for all the bad shit and make it happen. We are telling it to look for the bad and not even notice the good that is right in front of us.
Wouldn’t it be better to focus on the positive things that could happen to our loved ones? To be hopeful and trust that they will work things out. And then provide space for them to find solutions?
Focus on the positive and you will find more positive.
Let It Go
I made a powerful decision when I started this mindset work to stop worrying. Worry would no longer be something I would do or a state I would allow myself in. I decided if I was unsure of something, I would either ponder active solutions, things I could control and do to ensure bad things didn’t happen. Or, if it was completely out of my hands, I would let it go.
It isn’t easy to just “let it go.” Sometimes, when I’m having issues letting go, I visualize Cher in Moonstruck stating “Snap out of it!” Tony Robbins believes this. That you can change your emotions in an instant! Tony’s split-second change of emotions doesn’t work for me. But I can change my thought patterns and let it go with a bit of work.
It requires work.
It starts with being mindful that I’m worrying about something I can do nothing to change. That observation of my thoughts, which we learn through meditation, is key. If we cannot observe that we are allowing our mind to go into patterns of negative thinking, we can’t stop it from doing so.
Start becoming aware of your thoughts, observing them, and then labeling them so you can recognize worry and separate it from pondering solutions.
Acknowledge the limiting belief that is causing the worry.
I love our new life in Michigan, but I wouldn’t be honest if I said relocating a business and starting a new business was easy-peasy! It’s hard. It’s scary. And there are some days my mind starts to worry.
But the limiting belief that is always the cause of the worrying is my scarcity mindset and the self-doubt that I’m not good enough. No matter what I’m worrying about, it comes down almost always to one or both of these limiting beliefs.
This is where the work comes in! Changing those limiting beliefs into Powerful Decisions!
If you know me, you know that I believe that these limiting beliefs are just decisions that we have made in the past, and to change them, we simply make a new decision.
Beliefs and Decisions. They are the same thought pattern.
If you believe that family is important, you decide that family is important based on the evidence you mind shows you.
Same with climate change, a belief in God and everything else you believe.
Beliefs are decisions that our mind accepts as pure fact. It is a neuro connection in the brain that is strong and is our default.
My scarcity mindset and the belief that I’m not good enough are my brain’s default. It’s a pattern that has been there for most of my life and even though I’ve done the work, those connections can reappear, especially when uncertainty shows up.
Break the pattern of Limiting Beliefs?
We change our neuro connections or how the brain thinks by using neuro sculpting.
This process is a practice I teach in the Total MindShift. It does not happen overnight. It is a practice. Just like Yoga. Just like Meditation.The same as a workout schedule.
When those limiting beliefs show up, I get to work. I notice the unintelligence of worrying. I make a new decision. Then I find evidence, where the positive outcome has happened before.
Let’s take worrying about a loved one. My son was going through a difficult time last fall. I could have succumbed to worrying about him. I could have started thinking I was not a good enough mother. My scarcity mindset could have had me going in circles about how he could run out of money. But that would not do me or him any good.
What I could do was support him and help him find solutions. However, as a parent, when we hang up the phone, or they go home, we tend to ruminate about everything we just said, everything they just said, and it leads us to worry. To stop the worry, make a powerful decision, that they will be fine. They will manage through this. Then stack the evidence. Find times they struggled before, yet in the end things turned out ok. If there isn’t a lot of evidence, visualize a good outcome for them. Notice others who have struggled and managed through. This is all stacking the evidence. It stops the worry and keeps us focused on a positive outcome.
Today I can honestly say I spend far less time worrying and far more time strategizing solutions. It’s not that I never worry, I just don’t stay in that state of thinking for very long.
Our minds are more powerful than we know. But when we let the monkey mind and worry take control, we give up the power to live the life we desire.
So the next time you find yourself worrying, stop and notice. Realign your focus to a positive outcome. And be like Elsa. “Let it go.”