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The Warts of Worry. {And How You Can Avoid Them.}

worrying

I have a confession to make: I am a recovered worrier.  I used to fret about things I couldn’t control, things I could control, even things that didn’t concern me.  Can you relate?

Then one day in college,  I missed half of a HUGE presentation for my senior project: I overslept my alarm (hello worst scenario, ever!)  I arrived in the classroom a panicked and disheveled mess thinking: how will I ever fix this?  It turns out over-sleeping the presentation inspired my group members to get creative, and in the end we got an A- for the project and our improvisational skills.

I realized that the stuff I worried about?  It rarely happened.  And when it did come to pass?  It always seemed to work out, especially with options I never even considered.   So why was I worrying when it was getting me nowhere?These are some of the thoughts that now keep me off worry control and help me move forward:

::  Don’t make worrying a sport;  it’s often such a familiar and habitual behavior that we don’t even realize we’re doing it.  Consider other options:  If you are always in the worst-possible-scenario mindset, you can’t be open to the other great possibilities that could arise.

:: That projection of what might happen holds you emotionally hostage.  You’re not a better friend, partner or parent if you worry more.   Are you feeling concerned about someone?  Worry dissipates when we give attention and love to the situation. Let them know, send them good vibes, come up with helpful solutions.  Churning over ‘what if’ scenarios isn’t helpful to anyone.  Take action to improve the situation.

::  Pay attention to what is happening in your life.   Worrying can be a place to escape–check in with yourself and claim responsibility for what you’re avoiding.  The fallacy of worry is that it’s productive, but all it does is rob us of peace.  Make an effort to move forward by leaving the past and future where they are.

:: Having faith can provide great relief from worry.  Nature, God, Buddha, whatever your dharma is, know that you are being divinely guided.

Action cures worry.

Next time you start wringing those hands and your mind begins to race with possible harrowing scenarios, make a choice to either do something to quell your anxiety or let go of what you can’t control.  Understand that these fluctuations are just the ebb and flow of this beautiful life.  How can you ride the wave?

That senior project cemented for me that  worrying was a waste of time because we can’t possibly know or understand all of the outcomes that are possible.  And I’m thankful for that.

What would your life be like if you worried less and acted more?

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The Warts of Worry. {And How You Can Avoid Them.}2018-03-29T20:23:22-04:00

Why we resist change. {And what my hair has to do with it}

hairI have something embarrassing to admit: I was completely nervous about getting my haircut this past weekend.

I am a total high maintenance hair person; I have been going to the same stylist for 15 years.  She is amazingly talented and can cut a mean head of hair, but something just started feeling stale about our relationship.  I continually asked for one cut and would walk out with something different (is that a common complaint about stylists or is it just me?)  Instead of banging my half-coiffed head against the wall, I figured it just might be time for a change.  Just the thought of it made me anxious.

After asking around for recommendations, I discovered a lovely, talented woman that gave me an awesome cut.  She even said the words “Let’s take this slow the first time and build some trust.  Next haircut we’ll really dig in!”  It was magic to my ears.

But before we arrived at that sweet conclusion, I was sitting in the chair breaking out in a silent, sweating panic.  I kept telling myself in case it turned out to be a disaster, “It’s just hair!  It will grow back!” but I barely managed to calm my nerves enough to make idle chit chat.  When it was done, and my locks were expertly tamed, I breathed a sigh of relief and thought to myself: what was I so nervous about?

And then it occurred to me: this situation was no different than any change we implement in our lives.  Yes, hair cuts are stretching it a little, but  we’re all entitled to our idiosyncrasies.

afraid of change

Change can be downright hard.  No doubt about it; it can make the strongest of people go weak in the knees.  But we’re foolish to think we can dodge it.  The only thing that happens when we avoid change is that we get left behind.  Life keeps moving forward and we’re stuck in the muck of resistance.

Here are some of the reasons we resist change, do any of them sound familiar?

  • There’s the illusion of control: when we follow a certain path, we think we lower the surprises that could pop up, thinking we’re eliminating pain and suffering.
  • We are afraid: the fear of change comes from the prospect of making our situation worse rather than better.  It’s a catch 22 because if we don’t embrace change, we’ll never have the chance to grow on our own terms.
  • We’re lazy: we don’t want to have to learn something new and deal with that whole learning curve again.  It’s exhausting.  As a result, that laziness tends to cause boredom.
  • We don’t know what we really want.  Not knowing what we want can be a far more debilitating prospect than knowing what we do want and just not going for it.  Camping out in the land of indecision can keep us paralyzed for a looooong time.
  • We’re not ready for it.  There is a time and a place for everything,  We may not always be ready for the change life brings, but exploring why we resist can prepare us better for when the next transition shows up.

The key to overcoming resistance is to do it in slow increments and at a pace you’re comfortable with.  It can’t happen all at once!  And it shouldn’t–lasting change takes time to happen so be gentle with yourself.  There’s always going to be a part of your life in flux; going with the flow of adjusting things along the way can help move you in the direction you want to go.

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Why we resist change. {And what my hair has to do with it}2018-03-29T20:23:27-04:00
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