Do you ever worry? We all do, but we ought not. Worry is not just a weakness; it’s a wickedness.
Three times in the Sermon on the Mount, our Lord says “Take no thought,” which actually means “take no anxious worry.” To each worrier He says,
…Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment? (Matthew 6:25)
“Take no thought” doesn’t mean don’t plan ahead. The Bible praises the ant that stores up for the winter. It’s not foresight but foreboding that’s forbidden. Don’t reach into tomorrow and borrow trouble. Worry is the interest paid on borrowed trouble. Don’t pull tomorrow’s clouds over today’s sunshine.
To win the war with worry, we must…
RECOGNIZE THE CAUSE
No matter our life stage, we can find something to worry about. The ignorant worry because they don’t know enough; the smart because they know too much. The rich fear losing what they have; the poor fear not having enough. The old worry because they’re facing death; the young because they’re facing life.
“Behold, the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; and yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” (v. 26).
Jesus reasons, “If God takes care of the birds, isn’t He going to take care of you? What farmer would feed his barnyard chickens, then starve his beloved children?” “Take therefore no thought for the morrow…” (v. 34). Most of us worry about food, clothing, shelter—will we have enough?
UNDERSTAND THE COST
Worry is absolutely useless. It never dried a tear, lifted a burden, or solved a problem. Worse yet, it’s harmful. Like sand in machinery, worry won’t lengthen your life, but it may shorten it. You can worry yourself to death but not into a longer life.
- Worry buries blessing. There are blessings all around if you’ll look. Worry blinds you to the blessings of today.
- Worry steals strength. Worry is contagious—it spreads gloom everywhere, taking the joy out of today and the strength out of tomorrow. When we pile tomorrow’s problems onto today, it breaks us down. You arrive at tomorrow out of breath because you’ve been carrying today a double load that God didn’t intend.
- Worry is a wound in the heart of God. “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” (v. 30). Worry is an insult to God. It says, “God, Romans 8:28 is a lie.” Worry has you living like a pagan, thinking like the world, not someone who has a heavenly Father.
TRUST IN THE LORD
“…your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of these things” (v. 32). Someone loves you so incredibly that He gave His dear Son. He knows all about you. “Not a sparrow falls…” but that God is there. Even the hairs of your head are numbered. Your Father in heaven knows, cares, and loves.
Redirect your focus to what really matters. “But seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Matthew 6:33). God says, “You take care of My business, and I’ll take care of yours.”
SEE BEYOND TODAY
Because God loves you, He arranges some problems for you. We wouldn’t come to God, trust Him, or lean on Him if we didn’t have problems. Trouble reminds us that we must come to God.
RECEIVE SUFFICIENT GRACE
All sunshine makes a desert, so our Lord allows some trouble. But with the sufficient trouble, God gives us sufficient grace for today. The God Who designed you knows how much you can bear. “But He giveth more grace…” (James 4:6).
God will not give you a burden you cannot bear if you’ll use the strength He gives. Don’t let worry bury blessings or steal strength. Live today. “This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24).
Science shows you can contain your worries to 30 minutes each day.
“I just can’t shut off my brain. I worry so much I can’t pay attention to what I’m doing.” I hear comments like this in my therapy office on a daily basis. Whether you’re constantly worried about money, or you just can’t stop imagining worst-case scenarios, anxiety can be a major problem.
Ruminating about the past and worrying about the future makes it impossible to stay in the present moment. Consequently, worrying will impair your performance and affect almost everything you do.
It can also take a major toll on your relationships. If you’re distracted all the time, or you introduce “what if. ” questions into your conversations, because you’re predicting terrible outcomes, those around you may grow weary.
The good news is, there’s a simple strategy that can help you contain your worrying. It sounds counterintuitive, but it really works.
Schedule Time to Worry
Most of the worriers who enter my therapy office are hoping for a quick solution. I don’t blame them—worrying takes a toll on your well-being. But there isn’t a magic trick or a special pill that instantly cures worrying.
However, there are several cognitive behavioral strategies that can reduce worrying. And one of the most effective solutions is to schedule time to worry.
That means setting aside 30 minutes each day to worry. Mark it in your calendar or add it to your schedule. Make it consistent if you can, like “I’ll worry from 7 to 7:30 p.m. every night.”
Then, whenever you catch yourself worrying outside of that time frame, remind yourself it’s not time to worry, and you’ll have plenty of time to think about those worries during your scheduled time.
Once you arrive at your scheduled worry time, worry all you want. Sit and think about your worries, or write them down—whichever you prefer.
Then, after 30 minutes have passed, tell yourself it’s time to get back to your everyday life. With practice, it’ll help you contain your worries to just 30 minutes a day.
Why It Works
Several studies have found that scheduling time to worry is an effective way to reduce anxiety. And most studies have found that people experience relief in about two weeks.
A study performed by researchers at Penn State separated participants into two groups. One group was told to schedule time to worry, and the other group was told to continue worrying as usual.
The individuals who scheduled time to worry experienced a significant decrease in anxiety, compared to the control group.
Additionally, those individuals who scheduled time to worry also slept better (insomnia is often linked with anxiety).
So why does this work? One reason is that worrying has no limits. You could worry about the same things over and over again forever. Or you could find endless things to worry about.
Scheduling time to worry contains your worrisome thoughts to just 30 minutes. So if you’re used to worrying half of your waking hours, you’ll get a lot of time back.
Limiting your time to worry can also help you make your worrying time productive. Rather than ruminating (which involves dwelling on the problem), you’ll be more likely to look for a solution when you know there’s a clear limit to how much time you can spend thinking about an issue.
Tips for Getting Started
Here are the quick and simple strategies for reducing the amount of time and energy you devote to your worries:
- Pick a 30-minute time slot to worry and put it in your schedule every day.
- Keep your worry time and place as consistent as possible, and don’t schedule it too close to bedtime.
- If you catch yourself worrying outside your allotted time, remind yourself that you’ll worry later. (Write down your worry right away if you’re worried you’re going to forget about it.)
- When you reach your worry time, set a timer for 30 minutes.
- Sit and think, or write your worries in a notebook, whichever you prefer.
- Keep practicing and you’ll find that warding off your worries gets easier over time.
Schedule time to worry for two weeks, and you’ll likely notice that you’re feeling better and sleeping better, because your worrisome thoughts will no longer drain your mental strength all day long.
If your anxiety is serious, however, it’s important to see a trained mental health professional. Anxiety disorders are treatable, and without help, they can grow worse over time.
This article originally appeared on Inc.com.
LinkedIn Image Credit: The_Molostock/Shutterstock
by Susan Y Nikitenko
Susan y Nikitenko
Win the Worry War
Win the Worry War
Know God has all control.
Ask for His protection
When problems vex your soul.
Hold the hand of Jesus
His will is right for you
He knows ev’ry problem
That you are going through
Win the Worry War
Win the Worry War
Sweet Jesus loves us so
When we– become His child
He wants our faith to grow
Trust– in the Word of God
Put on your gospel shoes
Winners in our Jesus
In Him we cannot lose
Win the Worry War
Win the Worry War
By faith we pass the test
Though at time we question
The faithful will be blessed
When you want to worry
Just bow your head and pray
Ask the Lord to help you
Then let faith lead the way
. let faith lead the way
Win the Worry War
Win the Worry War
Win the Worry War
Win the Worry War
Comments for Win the Worry War
I write poems that can be sung too. I poetry best when it is read – it would be great to hear the music behind this one. Like the refrain of win the worry war – you are so right Jesus is our only hope against this insidious invisible enemy.
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Do you worry more than you want to? Check out these anti-worrying tips.
Worries are completely normal. It’s actually beneficial to worry about things sometimes. It helps us identify potential problems. But worry can become problematic when it’s persistent.
Excessive worrying can hurt your well-being (check your well-being with this quiz), and lead to a state of chronic anxiety or stress. It can also stress your relationships, harm your self-confidence, and hurt your career. And stopping worrying is not always easy.
Worry involves negative thought patterns—patterns that we’ve used over and over again. This can make them deeply ingrained in our brains. So stopping worrying involves confronting our beliefs, values, and emotions. Here are five steps you can use to put an end to worrying.
1. Explore the origins of your worry. One way you can tell whether your worry is about the situation you’re in or the way you think is by exploring whether the worry is general or specific. If you worry about one specific thing (e.g., work, kids, money) but you don’t worry about everything, you should consider taking constructive action to change your situation.
But if you’re like me, and you worry about just about everything, then working on your “worrying thoughts” is a good first step. Either way, it’s good to investigate the origins of your worry so you can gain self-awareness.
2. Identify your unique worry patterns. Here are some thought patterns that lead to worry. Some people will find that they have all of these patterns; other people will just have a few. But by understanding what thoughts cause our worries, we can more easily resolve them.
- Catastrophizingis when we expect the worst possible outcomes.
- Minimization is when we downplay the good things.
- All-or-nothing thinking is when we interpret a situation as all good or all bad.
- Overgeneralization is when we believe that having one negative experience means we will always have this negative experience.
- Negative attention is when we focus on the negative things that went wrong rather than focusing on the positive things
- Rumination is when we think about something distressing over and over again
- Mind readingis when we believe we know what others are thinking even though we haven’t actually asked them what they think.
Ask yourself: Which of these thought patterns do you have?
3. Stop worry by moving your body. When you worry, your sympathetic nervous system is activated (it’s the fight or flight system). Even if you completely stop worrying, it won’t get those neurochemicals out of your body right away. That’s why cardiovascular exercise can really help with worry.
Exercise activates the parasympathetic nervous system (in the longer term) which relieves stress and helps calm the body, returning it to its emotional baseline.
4. Try mindfulness to calm worries. The next step to stop worrying is by cultivating mindfulness. By sitting quietly, noticing your thoughts, and letting them go, mindfulness can help redirect worries. Over time, mindfulness can train the mind to calm the body so you don’t get so stuck in worries.
To practice mindfulness meditation all you need is a comfy spot. I find that a mediation video helps me stay focused while doing mindfulness.
Here’s a helpful mindfulness meditation video for a worried mind:
5. Talk to someone about your worries. Talking with a trusted counselor or friend can help you gain more perspective on your worry—Is it really worth worrying about? How can you think about this situation differently? Keeping your worries to yourself can lead them to build up and become overwhelming. By talking to someone, you can release some of the pressure.
But be cautious of who you talk to about your worries. Other worriers may make things worse. So just be thoughtful about who you share your worries with.
Facebook image: traveliving/Shutterstock
LinkedIn image: valedo/Shutterstock
Editor’s Note: The following is a report on the practical applications of John Edmund Haggai’s new book, How to Win Over Worry: Positive Steps to Anxiety-Free Living (Harvest House, 2009).
Life in this fallen world gives you plenty to worry about: You could lose your job. Your health could deteriorate. One of your children could die in an accident. Your spouse could betray you. The list goes on and on.
But no matter what uncertainties, problems, or tragedies life throws at you, you never have to worry about them. That’s because worry is a choice – a choice you can choose to avoid. So take action to win over worry so it won’t win over you.
You can win over worry by …
Recognizing that worry is destructive: Worry brings only negative results; it has no power to accomplish anything positive. Worry is a sin that can harm your relationship with God while it also harms your relationships with other people. It can make you miserable mentally and emotionally. Physically, it can lead to serious illness. See worry as the enemy it is and decide to reject it so you can pursue the life God wants you live.
Understanding that God is near: When you understand that God is always close to you – in every situation you go through – you’ll realize that you don’t have to worry because you can count on Him to help you. Remind yourself regularly that God is present, available, and compassionate. When you give Him praise for who He is, develop poise, and pray, you’ll discover the peace you need.
Rejoicing: No condition or circumstance ever justifies worry, because God has promised to help in every situation. So choose to rejoice in God’s faithfulness rather than worry.
Controlling your feelings: You can control the way you feel by controlling the way you think and act. If you choose to think and act in positive ways, you’ll soon start feeling positive emotions. This will work against worry and glorify God.
Counting your many blessings: Notice the lavish blessings that God has already bestowed on you. Don’t take them for granted. Develop healthy attitudes of respect and gratitude for what God has done for you. When you become worried, find a pen and a piece of paper and force yourself to write down every blessing that comes to mind. This will stop worrying by reminding you of God’s faithfulness.
Mastering the art of altruism: When you spend time helping people in need, you’ll discover real joy that will push worry out of your life. So take your focus off your own concerns and onto other people’s needs and how you can help meet them.
Never expecting thanks: Don’t worry when you encounter ingratitude from the people you’ve helped. In this fallen world, many generous acts go unappreciated. But rest assured that God will reward you with joy for what you do to help others.
Thought control: You can stop your feelings of worry by controlling your thoughts. Choose to think about what’s true, honest, praiseworthy, good, and pure. Those thoughts will lead to an inner peace that will guard you against worry.
Self-control: Self-control will help you respond to criticism with poise rather than worry. Pray for the Holy Spirit to give you self-control every day.
Enthusiasm: When you’re enthused about something, you focus your attention on positive thoughts that crowd out worries in your mind.
Relaxation: Ask God to teach you how to relax so you can protect yourself from unnecessary tension that leads to worry.
Scheduling: When you follow the Holy Spirit’s guidance to schedule your daily activities wisely, you’ll avoid the worry that comes from the time pressures of trying to do unnecessary tasks. You’ll be free to do just what God wants you to do – no more, no less – each day.
Variety: Pursuing a diversity of tasks will give you a healthy perspective on and balance in your life, so you’ll be less prone to worry.
Seizing the day: Focusing on the present day will free you from worrying about the past or the future. Live one day at a time.
Skill: Don’t scatter your efforts, attempting to excel at everything you do and worrying when you can’t keep up with it all. Instead, focus just on mastering the field of work to which God has called you.
Industry: Keep busy working hard. You’ll find so much joy in your work that you won’t have time for worry.
Stewardship: Avoid the financial messes that can cause worry by following biblical principles for managing money.
Surrender: When you surrender yourself to God’s will for you – wanting for yourself what He wants for you – He will give you the peace that empowers you to overcome worry.
Prayer: Pray about your problems instead of worrying about them. Trust God to help you with any problem, big or small.
Weakness: When you admit your weakness and rely on God’s power working through you, you can conquer all sin, including worry.
Starting the day right: Begin each day with prayer. When you do, the Holy Spirit will renew your mind, casting out worry and empowering you to approach the day from the right perspective.
Knowing how to ask: Pray specific prayers, persistently and thankfully, expecting God to answer in ways that reflect what’s best for you. Those kinds of prayers kill worry and invite God to act powerfully in your life.
Living close to God: Constantly maintain a spirit of prayer that will protect you from worry. Pray often, and everything that concerns you. In addition to praying about thoughts that enter your mind throughout each day, schedule an appointment with God every day to enjoy a focused prayer time with Him. Get your mind off yourself and onto God, reflecting on who He is and praising Him for His many wonderful qualities. Then you’ll experience peace that will overcome worry in any situation.
December 18, 2009
John Edmund Haggai, founder and president of Haggai Institute for Advanced Leadership Training, is an internationally acclaimed author, lecturer, and leader. He has helped people around the world with his practical formulas for winning over worry, pain, loneliness, and “impossible” situations.
Microsoft is bring a new widget to the Windows 10 taskbar called “News and Interests.” If you don’t use it or find it annoying you can disable it.
In the Windows Insider development rings, the company has been testing out a new News and Interests widget. It’s a button that lives on the right side of the taskbar. When launched it shows the weather forecast for your area, news headlines, finance, traffic, and other information. And the widget isn’t just for dev channels. It’s coming to older versions of Windows like version 2004 May 2020 Update and version 20H2 October 2020 Update in future updates. Here’s how to change its behavior or turn it off entirely.
What’s the News and Interests Widget
Here is an example of the News and Interests taskbar widget. It will pop up if you hover over the weather icon on the right side of the taskbar. It displays weather, news and finance headlines, traffic, and more. You can manage the topics that are displayed on the widget. Just click the Manage interests button.
Adjust the News and Interests Widget Behavior on Windows 10
Changing the behavior of the News and Interests widget on the Windows 10 taskbar is similar to managing Search on the taskbar.
Right-click the Weather icon on the taskbar and go up to News and interests on the menu. There you can select to show icon only, turn it off, or enable it again. You can also turn off activating it when you hover the cursor over it.
Below is an example of just showing the icon.
Still, you can accidentally hover over that icon and the News and Interests widget will open. You might want to turn off the “hover action.” Right-click the icon and go to News and interests and uncheck Open on hover.
The icon and/or text will still be on the taskbar. But you will have to manually click it to open the widget. It won’t just open up if you hover the mouse cursor over it.
Remove the News and Interests Widget from Windows 10 Taskbar
To get rid of it from the taskbar entirely, a better solution is to right-click the Weather icon and go to News and interests > Turn off.
Then it will no longer appear, and you don’t have to worry about it. If you want to clean up the taskbar, even more, check out how to disable the Meet Now button.
If you want to re-enable it for some reason just right-click the taskbar, go to News and interests and select the way it displays and the hover behavior.
That’s all there is to it. The News and Interests widget on the taskbar might be useful for some users. But having it pop up when you accidentally hover over it is at least easy to fix. From there you can decide if you want to disable it entirely or not.
Remove Other Windows 10 Features
For more on removing annoying Windows 10 features check out how to disable the “Get even more out of Windows” splash screen. Or how to disable the Windows 10 Welcome Experience.
Video yourself singing this song your way and win some poetry books: read on!
Don’t you worry about me. (Left-handed drawing: in sympathy with older people with painful hands)
Don’t you worry about me
(a song without music—yet)
Don’t you worry about me
don’t you worry worry worry worry
worry worry worry about me
Yes I’m getting old
not as if I wasn’t told
yes I’m getting sore
to be honest more and more
But don’t you worry about me
‘cos I’ve had a life you see
I’ve got all I need
as long as I’ve got love
from you and you and you
and a little bit of love from you
So don’t you worry about me
but let me worry about you
let me worry worry worry worry
worry worry worry about you
and let me help you too
You’ve got stuff to do
very very very important stuff
more than enough
and I’ve got my stuff too
I like it when you help me
but I can help you too
So don’t you worry about me
don’t you worry about me
cos I’ve got a life you see
— Rachel McAlpine 2021 CC BY 2.0
About this song without music
I’ve just been at a songwriters retreat (awesome) at Tahora in Taranaki (perfect) led by Charlotte Yates (sublime singer-songwriter and guru).
I don’t write songs, though I do write lyrics. After I learned the basics of song structure my tentative melody crashed and burned, but that’s OK. I learned a phenomenal amount and am so grateful for being welcomed into this group of extraordinary singer-songwriter-musician-performers.
So I’m sharing the words of my half-baked song with you. I can’t write the music so why don’t you sing this song your way? It tells you how we old people feel, or perhaps how we kind of want to be.
Prizes for singing this song your way
The first person to send me a video of themselves singing this song gets three random poetry books by me including my latest, How To Be Old. The second person gets two books. The third just gets How To Be Old. Maybe there will be other prizes too. We’ll see.
Sing this song your way —is it joyful, defiant, loving, martyred, poignant or tragic? What does it mean to you? I’m really really interested!
Email me at rachel [symbol for “at”] writing [dot] co [dot] nz
If you’d like to encourage me, here’s a way
OK, I’ll never be a singer-songwriter. But I’m working on something really exciting and very difficult. I hope you’ll like it very much, when I’m done. (To see the “I give–you give” cartoon and link you need to be on my website. Sorry! I will figure out how to make it appear in WordPress Reader soon…)
Let’s look at what Jesus had to say in Matthew 6.
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Win the Battle Over Worry
A man was constantly worrying that somebody was under his bed. He went to a counselor who was willing to help him, but at a high fee; over many months. A few weeks later the counselor met the man on the street and asked him why he had not returned. The man replied, “I met a friend who gave me some great advice for free. It worked perfectly.’ The counselor asked what advice had been given him and the man replied, ‘He asked me to cut the legs of the bed down to ground level!”
Unhealthy worrying can cripple us to the point of making us ineffective and unable to cope with life’s challenges.
How much do we worry and how many of our worries are unfounded? Unhealthy worrying can cripple us to the point of making us ineffective and unable to cope with life’s challenges. It can also lead to depression. We worry over sickness, viruses, finances, family, children, salt, sugar, unforeseen dangers and many other things.The Longman Dictionary describes worry as ‘an uncomfortable feeling in the mind, caused by a mixture of fear and uncertainty.’
Sadly, according to experts, worry can also take a heavy toll on our physical and mental health. Dr Charles Mayo once said, ‘Worry affects the circulation and the whole nervous system. I’ve never known a man who died from overwork, but I’ve known many who have died from doubt’.
So, what are you worrying about today?
In Matthew 6: 25-34, Jesus spoke about the futility of worry and offered us some insights to help us win the battle over worry. They are,
1) Understand that worry won’t change anything
Not only does worry not change anything, it also adds unnecessary stress to our day. As Bobby McFerrin famously sang in Don’t Worry, Be Happy:
In every life we have some trouble,
But when you worry, you make it double.
Jesus used two easy to understand examples to show that worrying is futile. He mentioned that we cannot either add one cubit to our height or one hour to our life by worrying. He also said in a parallel passage in Luke 12:26, “Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?” Sure enough, worrying will not change anything, so ask God to change your thinking and to replace your worry with faith.
2) Learn to live ‘One Day at a Time’
Jesus mentions that there is enough trouble for each day and we should therefore focus on living each day as it comes, without worrying about tomorrow. This does not mean that we shouldn’t plan for the future, but it certainly means that we shouldn’t worry over it. A quote I read says ‘Planning for tomorrow is time well spent. Worrying about tomorrow is time wasted.’ Sadly, most people either live with regret over the past or worry over the future. Can we learn to trust God a day at a time? The scripture says that He is a God who ‘DAILY’ bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19).
3) Believe that God will take care of our needs
Referring to food, drink and clothing (symbolic of all our needs), Jesus said, “…your Heavenly Father knows that you need them.” He also used the following two simple but powerful illustrations to show the Father’s caring heart.
a) Birds – “They do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them”
b) Lilies – “They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes grass of the field …will He not much more clothe you…”
God not only knows our needs, He is more than able to take care of them! We are much more valuable to Him than birds or flowers!
In 2 Kings 8: 1-6, a Shunammite lady, who on Elisha’s instructions had left her home and gone to Philistine territory to avoid a famine, returns 7 years later to find, to her dismay, that the house and land no longer belonged to her. In her desperation, this lady (with her son), went to see the King, hoping for a suitable answer; for maybe small mercies.
It so happened that when she entered and cried unto the King, he was having a ‘spiritual chat’ with Elisha’s servant, Gehazi, about the great things Elisha had done. Amazingly, at that very moment, Gehazi was telling the King about how God, through Elisha, had raised this very same lady’s son from the dead! The shocked King may well have been speechless for a while!
In his surprise, the King then asked the lady whether this was true and she affirmed it (2 Kings 8:6). After all, there’s nothing better than a first-hand account! The end result was that she not only got her house and land back, but also the income from the land for the past 7 years! I wonder whether any bank has that kind of payback scheme!
Truly, God knows how to take care of His children!
4) Seek God first
Jesus encourages us to “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness” (verse 33), with the assurance that when we do so, all that we need will be given to us. This attitude helps us place our hearts on loving God more than having our material needs met. It also assures us that all the things we worry about will be taken care of by Him. It is a very good policy to follow.
By following the advice of Jesus, we can win the battle over worry. Faith in Him will sustain us in every challenge we face.
I was born to a non-believing family and suffered with chronic asthma from the age of 6 months. I suffered immensely through childhood and had very little expectations for my future. When I heard about the love Jesus had for me and about His sacrifice for me, I gave my heart to Him completely. I was totally focused on Jesus alone and nothing else; not even my healing. As I began to seek Him more and more, I was completely healed of my asthma as well!
Closing Thought – ‘Don’t let the worries of tomorrow hinder your expectancy in God today!’
For many of us, low-grade stress and worry rule the day. According to new research from Liberty Mutual Insurance, 38% of us worry daily. Worry and its sidekick emotion, anger, feed our stress response to create an axis of trouble in our lives. They erode our ability to function well at home and at work.
Too much worry can even be deadly. In fact, the next time someone says, “My job is killing me!” they might not be kidding.
Fortunately, it’s possible to build an armor of resilience to protect ourselves from stressful events and the toxic reactions they provoke.
Here are five signs you worry too much—and how to offset the worry before it spirals:
Gallery: Where Most Job Stress Actually Comes From
1. You’re always scanning for a future threat. Chances are you’ve developed a habit of reacting to events with anxiety. I call this the “fear of future threat.” This mental shortcut dominates our thinking, and we tend to interpret everything as a potential problem. We’re constantly scanning for threats, and so we become worriers.
The fix: Separate the emotion of anxiety from what’s actually happening in your life. Is this a worst-case scenario, or are you catastrophizing? Don’t confuse feeling anxious with actual cause for worry.
2. You can’t sleep. Poor sleep means poor emotional functioning, which leads to more stress, which then prompts even worse sleep. It creates a vicious cycle.
The fix: Break the cycle by moving your bedtime up one hour. Turn nighttime into a safe haven, away from daily stressors. Instead of pecking away at your phone until your eyes close, go quiet and digital-free to remove distractions and the temptation. Feeling guilty about unwinding? Remind yourself that proper rest lays the foundation for proper functioning, so you’ll be better positioned to tackle life’s challenges in the morning. Give yourself permission to shut off. It will pay off in the long run. Remember: Sleep is not expendable.
3. You can’t shake off upset. We’ve all felt that jarring, prickly sensation after an unpleasant encounter. The aftershocks of a sour conversation can be long lasting: We relive it in our minds, wondering what we could have done differently, replaying the trauma, and second-guessing our response.
The fix: First, get up and move. When I’m trapped in replay mode, I leave the office and take a short walk. I return to my desk feeling stronger and refreshed. When you’re free from a stressed mindset, you’re also free to make better decisions. Then after I’ve hit the reset button, I do an accuracy check: Was the situation as bad as I really thought? Is it worth getting this upset about? Chances are, no.
4. You feel resentful. It’s tempting to expect your colleagues to read your mind. This is a recipe for disappointment. You’re caught in what psychologists call a Mind Reading Trap, and it creates all kinds of disagreements and burgeoning resentment because your expectations aren’t realistic.
The fix: Stop expecting other people to intuit your needs. Instead, start asking them for help. If you’re feeling out of control or out of the loop, don’t stew. Talk! If your employees aren’t delivering, have you been clear? Have you said exactly what you want and when? Take control of your communication.
5. You’re frequently overcome by guilt. You request a deserved raise, and then you wonder if your boss is annoyed. You take proper credit for a successful project—then feel guilty for the attention. When guilt is our default emotion, we see even positive things through a worried lens, and we feel like we violated someone else’s rights.
The fix: Challenge the thought. Is this feeling warranted, or are you fixating on something that isn’t there? Ask yourself: “What do I think I owed this person, and would I expect them to give the same thing to me? If not, why the double standard?” You wouldn’t be mad if someone asked you for a raise or claimed credit where credit was due—so give yourself the same benefit of the doubt.