How to Worry Less
Over the last two years, I have set out to grow intellectually by reading all of the classic novels most people read going through school. Sadly, during my early education as well as the many different schools that I attended, I was never assigned some of the classics. Since I set this goal, I have read some of the major works, such as Treasure Island, The Grapes of Wrath, East of Eden, Cannery Row, Animal Farm, and The Catcher in the Rye. One of my favorites was Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. Scout, the young female character, is living in a time of racial tension with her father Atticus being led by his convictions for equality. Atticus is walking the fine line between upholding his convictions and raising his two children. When Scout comes to her father frustrated, Atticus simply replies:
"It's not time to worry yet."
Atticus's response is so simple, yet profound. It reminds me of the so-easily-forgotten aspect of managing worry: control. I work with people all the time who are creating unnecessary worry by trying to control things that are out of their control, such as trying to change the behaviors of their boyfriend, trying to make the person that they hurt from their past forgive them, or trying to change their teenage son's self-destructive path. The key word being "try". These are all things that are out of our control. On the other hand, some of our worry exists because we find ourselves not doing anything about the cause of our worry, such as worrying about getting a raise at work yet never talking to the boss about a pay raise or knowing the current relationship we are in is destructive but not making any changes or ending that relationship. Simply put:
"Worry is created when we try to control things out of our control or when we are not doing everything we can with the control we do have."
This is easier said than done; I can attest to this. Yet the practice of not controlling things that are out of your control and taking action on things you can control will have life-changing results. Let me know how you are doing with making these changes for your personal growth.