Monday, February 24, 2014

top 5 causes of worry and how to teach yourself to "just stop!"

Monday, February 24, 2014

 this is what's written on the first page of my journal:

 "worry does not empty tomorrow 
of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength."
                                 --corrie ten boom  
i wrote it there before the year ended in 2013, and i made sure i wrote the line where i could always see it. it has been there for three months now, and although i have not yet completely turned into the pollyanna that i have always aimed to be, there had been instances in the last many weeks when i actually surprised myself. when i would begin to worry about something, a voice inside me would start screaming, and i must say that it has been doing a very good job at stopping negative thoughts from bossing me around. 

weeks and weeks of reciting my mantra aloud has indeed helped me shake off a lot of negative energy. they used to weigh me down like an invisible barbell and i was the super hero that always failed to transform (into a burly version of me in a tight red costume).

i spent years of my life playing the role of a crepehanger, and don't ask why or how because that is one of the gargantuan mysteries in my life. many times while i was growing up i had questioned my ability to survive in a world that seemed to demand too much from me. i lugged around negative baggage like it was a backpack that i needed to carry to school with me. i became too accustomed to it that i eventually slid into a trap. worrying began to feel like a pair of cotton tights that hugged my legs comfortably. it even felt "ok" moving around with it. 

there you go--the final superhero costume. 

for many years i was the biggest wart i knew--a microscopic wart that was always afraid of the needle that might come down to zap me anytime.
artwork by maria kalachova
like everyone in this world, i do have worries that are valid. i also have completely irrational ones that would make you flip over if you knew what they were. as a freelance writer, a reluctant entrepreneur, a full-time homeschool teacher-mom to two kids, a certified daydreamer and full-time errand marathoner-- i worry. i worry too much about too many things until one day, my son told me something that shook my world—but in a good way. we were waiting in line at the atm machine when he suddenly told me, “mommy, you worry too much.” 

surprised, i looked at him armed with my defenses and told him, “well, this happened and that happened and because of this that could happen or that happened because of this. would you not worry in a situation like that if you were in my shoes?” 

“i would, but not the way you do. if this happened then i would deal with it this way then i’d let it go,” my son told me lovingly, yet firmly and that melted all my defenses. 

my son is 12. what does he know that i don’t? 

worry is natural for any breathing human being. excuse the cliché, but that, really, is just one of the things in this world that we could classify under the unwritten column called “workable circumstances in life”. you worry about things that you think might happen without considering that they may actually never happen. and when you have exhausted all your energy from worrying, you realize that you have already wasted so many hours or even days and months of your life. i was your global champion for the worrywarts competition, so i know. 

you may seriously be worried about more than just five things, but i would like to focus on ones that yank you out of bed faster than a fire alarm can in the middle of the night. 

not having enough money
no matter how hard you work you still end up with a woeful bank account. this situation is not only familiar to a lot of people, it is true for most people around you than you can imagine. you are not alone in this situation, but there are people who do not like to talk about their money problems. it may sometimes feel like the world is zeroing in on you. not true. even millionaires face money troubles—not in the same exact situation that most of us are in, but they are not spared so don’t despair. 

you can choose to sit up all night wiping the beads of sweat from your forehead or start doing some measures to help you with your worries about money. 

working on a budget is a tough job but you just have to start doing it at one point. what if there is nothing to work on? i can almost hear you say. not having enough money now does not mean not having control over it later. it pays to know what to do with whatever money you're going to have, no matter how little it may be. the key is to plan. 

the envelop method has worked wonders for me. assign envelopes labeled with the major things that you need to spend on such as: electricity bill, water bill, phone bill, rent, savings, food allowance, fare, other expenses, etc. as soon as you receive a billing, put into the envelope the exact amount and seal it. do the same for the rest of the bills. never open it no matter how tempting a red velvet looks on a cake stand. you must also already have a good estimate of how much you spend on your monthly fare, and how much you spend on food so assign an ample amount to each envelope. 

if budget is yet very tight, just leave the “other expenses” envelope empty for the moment. don't fret. the most important thing is for you not to miss paying any of the monthly bills because they will blow up to gigantic proportions that you won't be able to pay for the bulk amount anymore. when this happens, you might need to take out a loan and then you will have to add a new envelope for “loan payment”. this is where the unending cycle of horrendous loans begin.
nothings keeps people awake at night more intensely than money problems. remember to be proactive. think about what you can do tomorrow to help alleviate your situation. say this out loud: “my money problems won't go away even if i stay awake all night thinking about it. i will only spend for things i need until my financial situation gets better.” repeat this and force yourself to shut down thoughts about money. it will not be easy but yes, only you can control the thoughts in your head. 

losing your job 

the fear of losing one's job is especially magnified among people who depend on their monthly income for survival. it is even a bigger concern if you have children and other family members who are dependent on you. 

there are different reasons why we lose our jobs. there's employee downsizing, company shutdown, dispute with employers, being treated unfairly by the company, and yes, the better of the lot get fired, too. 

if this particular fear stalks you like crazy, you must grant yourself a few minutes each week to sit and write down some events at the workplace that might have caused you to feel that you could possibly lose your job. could it be a dispute between you and your boss or a colleague? was it a job you were not able to deliver? were you late for work more than once during the week? 

make a detailed list and deal with them one by one. if these are mistakes that could be avoided, create a plan to help you perform better the following week. once you are able to target what might have caused you to worry, the dark cloud resting on top of your heart will dissipate. 

most of the time we worry about things without really trying to understand why they are worrying us at all. worry is an outbreak, and because you know people worry, you feel you need to be worried about something, too. just drop it and you will soon realize how much time and negative energy you will be saving yourself from. 

event the healthiest individuals worry about getting sick because that means a major cut down in their productivity. if you do some research on topics on becoming successful, the focus on health surfaces as one of the most significant contributors to a high-flying career and a flourishing family life. in my opinion, this is also one of the most manageable things on your worry list. you can start by thinking about how you are treating yourself. if you have habits that you know need to be kicked out of your life like smoking, excessive alcohol drinking, etc., then you must start setting a realistic goal for yourself to help you quit. 

your health is your choice. go about this quickly in your head: “how i look and what the current state of my body is-- is my own doing.” and, “worrying will only make me lose sleep, and losing sleep means putting my health at risk.” end that negative thought now. 

losing a loved one
yes, we sometimes live uncontrollably worrying about losing the people we love to diseases and accidents. nothing can be a more valid worry than this one. all we want is a very, very long life with our spouses, parents, siblings, relatives...dogs...and whoever is closest to our hearts. it does keep you up on some nights, doesn't it? the things is that the people who love you also experience the same intensity of worry about losing you. help them lessen their worry over you by showing them that you have every ounce of will power to live for them. how? by keeping yourself healthy and by being positive. life is still about quality, you know. 

you also have to accept that as humans we have completely no control over some things in the universe. your responsibility is to build the strength within you and maintain a capacity to handle what reality may hurl your way.
wallowing in fear will do nothing but guarantee that you that you will be losing quality time with the people who matter to you. when you are with them, focus on their presence because nothing is more important than the now. direct your energy towards them and make every moment extra special. 

not reaching your goals 

questions about your future come up in many places. this one--> “how do you see yourself so and so years from now?”, crops up in surveys, interviews and even in conversations in the pantry. if you are directly able to answer this question, then you must have mapped out this far-flung space called the future. good for you. if not, you are in a situation that many others are also in. the future is often in a guise of a dark, distant cloud. 

you worry because the word “future” is big. but have you ever written an original version of what the future should look like for you? the media and the society have done quite an extensive job defining it for all of us. a good future means having: lots of money, a brand new car, a big house, and a high-paying job. it's blissfully perfect and written for characters in “the stepfords wife”, and not for you. the fictive and calculated life of android wives doesn't (and shouldn't) fit into your life story.

when you think about the future as a destination rather than a part of your present journey, you put yourself through the pressure of creating an unrealistic, unachievable future for yourself-- a future defined by others for you. 

remember that a good future may also look similar to this one: having just enough money, enjoying the less flashy life of a commuter, having a job that will allow you to exercise your talent and maximize your potentials, a life of wellness, and most especially, a life designed by you. 

if you ever find yourself worrying again, say this out loud: 

"worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow; it empties today of its strength."


causes of worry, anxiety, budgeting, illness, wellness, wealth, paranoia, loans, taxes,

A top Philippine women’s empowerment blog covering travel, style, fashion, opinion, latest trends, technology, events, manila, Luzon, visayas, mindanao, best asia blog, bipolar, anxiety, depression, enlightenment blog motherhood, parenting, positive thinking, health, negative thinking, fear of death, fear of losing loved ones, worrying about getting sick, worrying about money, control spending, future, worry about the future, The Stepford Wives, goals, plans

running in red stilettos © 2014