Where Has Worrying Ever Gotten You?

Though It’s Completely Natural, It’s Never Helpful

Photo Credit: Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

I come from an anxiety ridden, socially awkward and over thinking family — on both sides. High blood pressure is more than common among us.

My Father spent eight years stressing over the fact he could lose his job at any time, as the insurance company he worked for as an accountant for ten years was planning on declaring bankruptcy and making some layoffs.

His boss told him in private he would be one of the last to go, as they would need him and all he knew how to do that they didn’t, until the very end.

This didn’t stop him from endlessly worrying about possibly losing a job he hated with a passion anyway — to the point that and everything else he needlessly stressed over eventually caused him to suffer a mild heart attack.

This is a man who beat cancer and has overcome absolute terrible tragedies and losses in his life — and yet worrying almost literally killed him.

Thankfully though, he was okay. Oh — and he retired from that same company he spent nearly a decade worrying was going to send him packing at any time, with a decent severance bonus check as a thank you for his service, at age 63.

I can’t fault my Father because I suffer from the same anxiety he does. We overthink everything. We play out every scenario and possible outcome of a situation in our heads. Both him and I also have pessimistic views and tendencies, though I’m at least aware of it and do my best to try and think positively — both about myself and the world around me.

Worrying has brought me endless amounts of unnecessary unhappiness. It has robbed me of countless moments, hours and even entire days of joy.

When I should’ve been living in the moment, enjoying the amazing place I was at and the wonderful people around me — I was off somewhere in my head, fretting over the past or fearing some fictional future problem.

There is no telling the amount of opportunities I lost out on due to worrying about the what if’s of them. Personal, social, romantic, professional, financial and creative opportunities — either completely blown or blown off, all thanks to the way I’ve worried myself into a debilitating panic. To where it felt like I physically couldn’t take the action required, however simple it may have seemed to others.

A friend of mine whose home remodeling and general contracting company I work for sporadically once said to me, he thought my biggest hang up as far as our work went and what I was or wasn’t able to do, was I worried too much about messing up or over thought the task at hand.

He was 100% right and I had no problem telling him so. It all starts with self awareness. You can’t fix a problem if you don’t think there is one.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve made a conscious effort to try and worry less and laugh more. I go out of my way to look for the positives in everything around me, though admittedly it doesn’t always exactly come natural to me.

All I know is worrying never got me anywhere I wanted to go. It’s never benefited me or paid off. In fact, a majority of the things I’ve worried about for days on end over the years, never even came to pass or worked out completely different than I thought they would. What a waste of time — time I’ll never get back. Worrying about nothing that was ever worth worrying about.

Ultimately, nothing is worth losing your peace of mind over. Whatever it is, It’ll either work out — or it wont. You stressing about it non stop, isn’t going to change anything. For a long time, I think I believed I was planning or preparing, when really I was panicking. I thought I was coming up with strategy, when truthfully I was just stressing. In fact, I wrote a post on exactly that titled Stressing Is Not A Strategy. Because it definitely isn’t and I’ve had to learn the hard way, time and time again that worrying never benefits me.

Like a wise man once said “Can you fix it? Then why worry about it?” The last part of what he says isn’t contingent on what your answer to the first question is, it applies to both yes and no answers — and that’s why he is a wise man.

I’ve told you all about what worrying has gotten me, now I want you to genuinely ask yourself, what has it ever done for you? If you’ve worried even half as much as I have in my life, chances are it’s probably cost you immensely. The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s possible to gain control over your thoughts and calm your mind down. It takes practice and may seem difficult at first but over time it only gets easier.

I certainly haven’t perfected it and can still find myself needlessly worrying about nothing of any importance on any given day.

The difference though, is I’m aware of it today and do my best to nip it in the bud. I try and stop myself from worrying over things that don’t matter, I have no control over or can’t change. It’s not always easy and has been a process but one that’s been well worth it for sure.

So please, start worrying less and living more. You deserve it and you’ll thank yourself for it.

You’ll see how much time you spent worrying about people places and things that never mattered to begin with.

Writing About the Human Condition, via My Thoughts, Observations, Experiences, and Opinions — Founder of Journal of Journeys and BRB INC ©