Bird & Sunrise photo

Bird & Sunrise photo
Because "someday" is today!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Got Worry?

"Be Here Now" 5:7 digital art ©2016 Tina M. Welter  Peaceful White Cat, digital art, focus on today, stop worry habit.
"Be Here Now" 5:7 digital art ©2016 

Last November, we had only been back in the USA for a month. We were staying with friends in New Mexico, we knew we were going to visit Jeff’s parents for Christmas in Oregon and then stopping to see my Uncle in California, but we had no job, no home, and no certain plans beyond that. It was so hard not to let my mind just go crazy with worry!

After two months of feeling just awful and recognizing that I really wasn't changing anything, I made a resolution to try to do something to address my worry. The first step I came up with was to focus on what my situation was that day, and what could I do to make that day really good. This one shift of mindset did help relieve some of my distress.

In January, when we were staying with one of my nieces in Arizona, I noticed a book in their spare room/office called “Stop Worrying and Start Living” by Dale Carnegie.  Curious, I picked it up and read sections here and there. I told Jeff  “I think I need this book!” It was easy to find a copy on-line and it didn’t take long to read. Like Mr. Carnegie says, the information isn’t really new, but being committed to putting the concepts into practice and being willing to change are the key part of addressing the problem of worry.

It was a real boost for me to find more suggestions and examples on how to stop the worry habit.  I thought I would share some of may favorite helpful insights that I learned.

Dale Carnegie’s five questions:
  1. Do I often to put off living in the present in order to worry about the future, or to yearn for some “magical rose garden over the horizon?"
  2. Do I sometimes embitter the present by regretting things that happened in the past?
  3. Do I get up in the morning determined to “seize the day” to get the utmost out of these twenty-four hours?"
  4. Can I get more out of life by “living in day-tight (24 hour) compartments?” 
  5. When shall I start to do this? Next week? Tomorrow? Today?
Willis H. Carrier “A Magic Formula for solving worry situations"
  1. Ask yourself, what is the worst that can possibly happen?
  2. Prepare to accept it if you have to.
  3. Calmly proceed to improve on the worst.
(Aha! An actual useful direction to take when I am awake at night imagining the worst!)
Herbert E. Hawkes, former Dean of Columbia College, Columbia University.

“Confusion is the chief cause of worry”…”Half the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision." 
I hadn't thought of it that way, that not getting all the facts could add to my worry.
Three basic steps of problem analysis:
  1. Get the facts.
  2. Analyze the facts.
  3. Arrive at a decision and then act on that decision.
I like that Mr. Hawkes added to this that you are not allowed to wallow in regret if your well thought-out choice still doesn't work out how you wanted. Disappointment in how our 4 year plan to improve our work/living situation was unfolding was one of the thoughts that was really causing me pain. I needed that reassurance that it wasn't necessary to shame yourself when you have done your best to make a good choice. We all learn through imperfect choices.
We often get stuck when we only pay attention to the facts that justify our desires.

“Everything that is in agreement with our personal desires seems true. Everything that is not puts us into a rage.”  Andre Maruois 

Boy, isn't that the truth, and this mind-set can get us stuck in more aspects of life than worrying too much!

The rest of the story...

In March, Jeff was offered a job with the Forest Service for the summer! We finally had a place to go and a way to earn money and I found a part-time job too!  There have been some difficulties, but all in all, life’s been good! 

October is looming ahead of us though, and the uncomfortable worry thoughts are stirring again. Through thinking about why I do what I do, I've concluded that my worst worry inducing habit is predicting the future. I have proof that my predictions are often not accurate. For example, last winter when I thought we had few options to hope for, places for us to stay and help that I  never imagined as possible appeared one by one, like stepping stones, through the kindness of family and friends.

Reminder: I am not a fortune teller!  

I also resist letting go of the good I have today for fear I will never have it again. Somehow I have a belief that there is a limited supply of good for me. I have already experienced that this isn't true by living in so many places, and in so many different situations, and they all have had something worthwhile for me to enjoy. 

Reminder: Focusing on "not enough" is stressful and often not true.

Even with these thoughts in mind, I absolutely needed to review what I learned this winter and it helps me to put my thoughts into words to share.  I hope it will help some of you too, my kind readers. 

One last favorite quote: 
“Our main business is not to see what lies dimly ahead, but to do what lies clearly at hand” Thomas Carlyle  1871

I am not perfect at eliminating this worry habit yet, but I am certainly more aware of what I can do to worry less and live more. Sometimes something as simple as just walking around the block several times can help lift the worry vise off my mind!


p.s. Copies of the artwork "Be Here Now" that was inspired by my Worry-Less Resolution this year are available at Fine Art America. Click here to visit my FAA page

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