I am a worrier. I have been told one too many times that I worry too much. In my opinion, and my perception, I worry with basis. Now, that basis for my worry, may be unfounded to others. I’ve often been told, “I think you’re exaggerating this a bit” or “I don’t think it’s meant like that; you worry too much.”
I recently found a couple of articles online that tell me – people who are pessimists – including those of us who are worriers – live longer than the optimist. I never thought of myself as a pessimist, but maybe I am.
The bigger question is though – are you an effective worrier?
The last thing I need is to worry about worrying, but here’s how I try to be effective at worrying.
1) Do something about it.
A few of months ago, I worried that a mole under my right arm, may have something wrong with it. I’ve had it my whole life, but it was on a weird spot on my body, because clothes constantly would scrape against it, and I was beginning to pay attention to it too much.
So yes, I was worried. Did it look like a cancerous mole? Probably not.
Would an optimist tell me not to worry about it? Not sure, maybe, maybe not.
But what I did was get an appointment with a doctor and got my mole removed. No, it wasn’t cancerous, but to me? You can’t be too safe with things like that.
2) Plan for it.
No, I don’t mean to build an underground bunker for whenever the sun collides with the earth. Nor do I mean for you to go out and buy 1,000 cans of baked beans in preparation for when the zombie apocalypse happens.
I think we all can have long term worries that can impact our day to day happiness and peacefulness.
While I know we all need to “let that stuff go,” I do think that you can ease your own worries by planning ahead.
Worry about retirement? Start saving. Worry you’ll never make it to college/grad school/certificate program? Start researching how you COULD make it happen and start planning.
For me, I try to make an effort to save just a little money each paycheck for those just in case moments. Like when I overspend at the mall and I start to worry about overdrafts. Things like that.
Other situations too…like knowing where the nearest hospital is with the 24 hour emergency room. Buying cold and flu medicine before you get sick. Knowing where a nearby food bank is. Writing down all of your credit card information and your bank’s contact information in case your cards ever get stolen.
Learn how to use your worry to your benefit. And no, I still don’t think you need that underground bunker.
3) Imagine yourself handling it.
I’m not the type that will ever tell a friend to stop worrying. Or to tell someone, “Wow, you need to do yoga/get laid/go on vacation/take a chill pill.” Sure, those things may need to happen, but downplaying someone’s fears just pisses them off.
I think a huge part of a worrier’s life is the fact that they fear not being able to handle the worst. Sometimes I think that is where I come from.
If you worry too much, or you know someone who does, walk through their (or your) fears. So, what happens if you lose your job? What if you do get in trouble? What if you get sick? What if someone you love does get hurt? What if you do become homeless?
Talk this out with yourself and imagine that you have handled these situations. That you have actually handled your worst fear.
Maybe what optimists worry about is that those of us who worry too much will let the worry dominate our lives. It can actually, because that’s where disorders come in and other issues where our own mental health is affected.
Try not too worry too much about worrying. If you are a worrier like me, and you haven’t yet gone overboard with it, try to become an effective worrier. I think if you manage the things you worry about well enough, your worries may rise and fall a lot quicker.
And no, you still shouldn’t build that underground bunker.
Do you worry too much? Or are you the “don’t worry so much” type? Have you ever used your worry to your benefit?