I was encouraged to write this article by Teggers Play Pop and Foxoles (I think) following a comment I made on GP some months ago. I can’t recall exactly what I said but it was something along the lines of me rarely worrying about things. I was quizzed as to how I achieved this state of mind, considering I admitted to being a worrier in the past.
Before I start this article, I must point out that I am in no way an expert on this topic and any ‘advice’ given by me is not guaranteed to work for anyone else. We are all unique in our own way and what works for me might not for others.
As I alluded to above, I used to be a worrier. As a young child I can’t remember going around to other children’s houses (for birthday parties etc) because the prospect of being in unfamiliar surroundings worried me. I used to worry about all sorts of stuff in an irrational way. As I grew older, I became better at conquering my fear of the unknown and unusual surroundings / events didn’t bother me as much.
When I first started work, I used to worry about getting things wrong (working in computing it was essential not to make mistakes). I see this as a good thing in part, because it made me hyper sensitive to ensuring I paid attention and double or tripled checked everything I did. I can vividly remember spending one weekend worrying about a job I had completed – to the point I couldn’t even pick up the telephone at home (in the days before mobile phones) because I was concerned it might be someone from work telling me I had made a mistake and it was all going to be a complete mess. Of course, nothing of the sort happened and Monday morning came without any fuss and I had spent two days worrying over nothing.
I started to worry a bit less when I got to my 30s – having children teaches you to prioritise on the important stuff and by the time I was 40 I was a lot better at dealing with worry. Shortly after I reached 40, I left my employer of 21 years and joined a small company which I now own 50/50 with business partner. Looking back, it was perhaps a brave thing to do as the company I joined was a small business compared to the one I left, but I simply couldn’t work there any longer. That was in 2006 and two years later we were hit by the recession which affected our client base substantially. The company was in dire straits; at one point in time we thought we were going to have to put it into administration but somehow we worked out we couldn’t afford to! We decided to keep on going as we had no other viable options and dug deeper into our mental reserves. Thankfully things worked out and we turned the company around over the following few months. Looking back the experience taught me a great number of things, not least how to cope with stress and worry.
Since joining the company there have been a number of highly stressful events; an employment tribunal and a string of ‘battles’ with competitors, suppliers and clients. All of these have ‘hardened’ me to the point where I have learnt to put things into perspective and only worry about stuff that really needs to be worried about.
Being relatively financially secure and in control of my own destiny also helps – perhaps ‘control’ is the real key to not worrying?
So, how do I manage to control my worrying? I think it helps that I can put ‘stuff’ into a ‘box’ in my mind and shut the lid. I can go to bed and not think about it until the morning – it can be hard, but it can also be done.
In addition, I ask myself these three very simple questions:
- Has the act of worrying ever changed the outcome of what ever it is you are worrying about?
- Have any of the things you’ve worried about in the past ever been as bad as you imagined they would be?
- Does worrying about something make you feel better?
I would answer “no” to all these questions – always. So, dear reader, if worrying achieves nothing other than making you miserable why do it?
I realise this is a cold, hard way of looking at this topic – it is without consideration of the emotional impact on life, which in my personal view, is most of the reason why people worry in the first place.
I get the impression, from speaking to worriers that they actually ‘enjoy’ it in some way. It gives them a perverted sense of pleasure – the emotional low and then the high when the thing they were worrying about has gone away.
In conclusion, I have found my own method for dealing with worry and I don’t know whether this article will help anyone to deal with it for themselves, but if it does, I’m pleased to have assisted in some small way.
© Reggie’s Mind Of Evil 2020
The Goodnight Vienna Audio file