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How I stopped worrying

I remember saying to myself when I was a teenager that I was never going to worry again.


And I haven't.


I don't remember what sparked that strange decision and I don't remember if I was a "worrier" before that... I'm assuming I must have been... or at least said the phrase "I'm worried" before I was able to understand it's significance... but I really remember people's reactions to me afterwards when I tell them I don't worry. Even now days I get a weird look... even from my own daughter or students. It's a combination of WTF and how can you just never worry.


And I have thought about that decision over the years... wondering how it was possible... wondering if maybe I am genetically not predisposed to not worry... or if I just didn't have things to worry about in my life... and if it has affected my health for the positive, or if worry is actually a thing, and why other people can't seem to stop doing it... thinking specifically of my daughter.


I think there's a lot of value in looking at what people do who are really successful in an area and duplicating what they do... and I also think there's a lot of value in looking at what people do who are really unsuccessful with something... I just happen to be really good at not worrying. If it were some other area of life, I might be looking at what you do in an effort to copy your successful tactics and habits.


This is the hard part now... describing what I did... and the only way I can do that is to talk about some of the things I have learned since then that explain the mechanics behind that decision.


I remember letting go of the need to feel bad about something for long periods of time... worry.


Letting go means that I severed the emotional connection between myself and what I wanted for the object of my worry. You take a breath and release the compulsion to feel a certain way about a certain thing... usually it's something that you value a lot... like NEEDING someone to text you back for example... not exactly a "worry" scenario but it should give you the idea.


So you feel the feeling of compulsion in your mind and body... a combination of stress, and chaos, and waiting, and anger, and frustration, and that weird feeling of being antsy. There's absolutely nothing happy in these feelings... and you are doing it to yourself. Yes... they may be a total dick by not responding to you but no one is holding a gun to your head making you feel these things.


It's not popular to blame yourself... but it's you... YOU are allowing yourself to feel that negativity.


I still feel these things when I'm expecting a text back from someone that I'm excited about... but not for long because I know the process for letting go so I can get back into a more positive and productive head space.


"I can't just stop worrying"


Sure you can... you just don't know how to do it.


That's the same as saying... I can't code an app... which may be true in the present... you really don't know how to code... but as soon as you learn how to do it... ta da... you can now code.


So right now you may not know how to not worry... but after reflecting on what I'm telling you... you can incorporate what I do into your repertoire of behaviors and never worry again.


So decide that you are not going to let this thing bother you anymore. take a big breath in and imagine the feeling leaving your body with that breath out.


Worrying is a habit. It is your chosen way of dealing with a situation that is somewhat outside of your control. "But I didn't choose to worry." Maybe not... maybe you learned it so young that it just seems like a part of your identity... but you are aware that you do it... and so... you should be aware that you keep doing it because it is so ingrained into you that you don't think about it... Just like you don't think about which hand you are going to use to brush your teeth... you just do it.


You have other habits that you do without really thinking about. Habits like how you laugh, how you get up in the morning, how you act in a social situation with people you know... and probably a different habit for people you don't. You have habits around how you talk... the language you speak is a good example of habit... you keep speaking the language you do because that is your go-to method of communication, how you express anger, or happiness, or how you prefer to sleep... are you a side sleeper, or a stomach sleeper. They are all habits and so can be changed.


I chose to change my habit of worrying when I was a teenager... just like you can change what hand you write with... it won't be easy at first... but it's doable.


So as much as worrying is a habit... so is not worrying.


I saw this recently...



Worrying brings feelings of pain and suffering. "I'm worried about my mom/dad/sister/brother/dog/cat"... whatever... it doesn't matter who we are talking about. And I'm def not saying that you have to stop caring about them... you just have to realize that worry is a pointless activity... it decreases your happiness A LOT


And there is absolutely NOTHING you can do to help them or the situation by worrying. Whatever is going on will not be swayed one millimetre by your decision to worry. Worry is different than concern... much different.

 

You are responsible for your issue with worrying

 

What this means is: Chill the Fuck Out

Take action... Make the decision to never worry again.


You also have to let go of your worrying "roll models". It might be your mom... it might be your dad... IDK who it is for you but you have to realize that you are not them and just because they do something doesn't mean that you have to do it.


Just because you heard your mom say that she was worried about this or that when you were growing up doesn't mean that you have to copy her... You might have picked up the habit of saying that you're worried about something from someone else. My daughter does that all the time. She spends a lot of time on social media... which I'm not worried about hahaha... but I hear her saying things that she hears the people she follows saying... because we are influenced by people we look up to.


She hears her favorite YouTuber's joking about "kill me now"... and surprise surprise... she says it too. They talk about "my anxiety"... casually and all the time like they are talking about... mmmmm... what... something really common that you do every day... like showering or eating supper... and because they are cool to her... she uses the same phrase... except they are older and more experienced and she doesn't realize how it is influencing her beliefs about herself.


Is it true? Does she have anxiety?


NO...


Does anyone?


We all feel stressed out by things... I'm sure she feels stressed out by things too. It's normal... we all do. I'm not saying she doesn't get worked up when she has problems with a friend... and I'm not saying that she isn't freaked out by spiders... I remember thinking they were pretty creepy looking when I was a kid... But at this stage of my life... I don't care about them at all. I had one crawl on my neck a few days ago in the kitchen... I brushed it off and squished it with my bare fingers and washed it down the sink without a thought. When I was a kid I couldn't even touch a picture of a spider cuz it scared me.


I'm not the same person I was back then. I have different priorities, and different thoughts, and different goals... I even eat different foods than what I ate back then. We should be in a constant state of growth. You should not be the same person in 10 years that you are now... you should be getting bigger and stronger and faster and smarter and more in tune with who you are and who you want to be... not stuck as the same person.


She also doesn't realize that some of the things she hears are being said because they are trendy now and in a few years people won't be saying them anymore. But meanwhile... they have created semi-permanent beliefs in her... about her. I don't want to say fully permanent because that undermines her ability to make changes in her life... and it negates my roll in influencing and teaching her.


Just because I did something yesterday doesn't mean I have to do the same thing today... that is a choice. Just because you identified as a worrier yesterday doesn't mean you have to identify as a worrier today... but when we develop a habit when we are young... before we can even question the source of the influence... it seems like it's a part of you. It is... and it isn't. Who you are is very complex.


Our brains aren't done growing till we are 25 to 30 years old and many psychologists feel that who we become in the first 7 years of life cements us into certain patterns of behavior for life.


I'm not saying that you wont experience some shit in your life and not know how to deal with it... that's everybody who has ever lived... but that's different than worry. Worry is completely unnecessary, and brings nothing but negativity, and is completely within your control.


#worry #stopworrying #calmdown