Getting Off the Worry Slide

Planning art projects for vacation bible school.

Organizing the “non-party” event for a friend’s birthday.

Pay the bills.

Plan next week’s summer activities for the kids.

School starts late August . . . and oh yeah, I have got to do those follow up notes from last week’s meetings!

Does any of this sound familiar? These are the constant flurry of thoughts that are currently sending my brain through mental gymnastics as I start to fret over how it’s all going to get done. And the downward slide into the worry world begins. Instead of completing the slide down and being done with it, I find myself trying to walk up the slide to “fix” the problem.  When was the last time you tried to walk up a slide?  Not as fun or as easy as when you were a kid, that’s for sure!  In life, we have downward slides, just like you can’t have mountains without valleys.  But, we are not meant to live in the valley, just as we aren’t meant to stay stuck on the slide going down.  At some point, you are supposed to get off!  So, apparently I have forgotten a few key things about letting go and having “powerful thoughts” to direct my day, and need a reminder or two about how to get off the slide, get up, brush myself off, and walk to the next activity.

Reminder #1:  All you can control is you, at this moment in time and in this place

So why am I fretting about what may or may not happen next week or next month? Because some of us (!) have issues with control, and when it looks like something is out of our control, we have to figure out ways to make it come within our control. Huh? You know that makes perfect sense!  There is a very accurate biblical reference to the fact that “sufficient for the day are the evils thereof”– so why are you making yourself crazy over a day that isn’t here yet? Good question.

Reminder #2: Over 90 percent of the things we worry about never come to fruition.

Think about it. How many time have you worked yourself into a tizzy over some issue (great and small) only for the event to be canceled, your friend gets sick, your coworker quits. Imagine what fun and fulfilling things you could have been doing instead of fretting about something that didn’t really matter anyway!

Reminder #3: No matter how bad it seems, trust me– someone, somewhere, is worse off than you

I was reading one of the parenting magazines last week ( looking for activities to keep my kids busy of course!) when I came across this article that said that 1 in four children in the United States goes hungry every day, and the number of families/ people who are “food insecure” (a term indicating not knowing where next meal is coming from) number in the millions.  Wow. Really? Yes, really.  And to think I was worried about whether my family had enough of the snacks they liked to make it thru this week.  Definitely time to refocus!  There is a great little proverb that says “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet”. In today’s challenging economic times, it is important to keep our priorities straight or they could get “straightened out” for us. So why complicate things by worrying about the inconsequential?

Reminder #4:  Worrying about the mundane (and not so mundane) eats away at our energy, diverts our focus and blocks our view of gratitude

We all have things to be genuinely concerned about.  But as Dale Carnegie wrote in his book “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, concern and worry are not one in the same. Concern involves acknowledgement and letting go; worry entails a consuming obsession that controls your every waking thought and action.  And when you are consumed by worry, you certainly can’t see anything that you should be grateful for. Gratitude requires a positive outlook, a moment of quiet reflection and faith that tomorrow will be better because of the great things that happened today. Worry ditches any thought of today to focus on how horrible tomorrow might be because yesterday was bad too. That sounds even worse in writing! So would you rather spend your life looking backwards miserably to what was, or looking forward excitedly to what can be?

So back to the slide.  Are you going to fight against the tide and try to walk up the slide, or are you going to finish your turn on the slide going down so you can hurry to the next great activity– like flying high in the swings? The choice to be a more powerful you is all yours!