Do You Worry Enough? Part 2
Last time we discussed “Do You Worry Enough?” We started by framing a workable definition of the word worry.
Now we know what worry is. How much worrying is the right amount? That’s difficult to quantify. I believe we need to think about the problems in our lives enough so that we understand them. Notice I didn’t say that we need to “solve” the problems. If a loved one is gravely sick, there’s little most of us can do to “fix the problem.” We’re sad, perhaps depressed, maybe scared. We have a flood of conflicting emotions that we “don’t have time for” or otherwise wish to avoid.
In such a circumstance, we need to force ourselves to sit down and think about what’s going on. Let the emotions flood in; become overwhelmed; have a good cry; say a prayer; and then go back to our routine for awhile.
It may be necessary to do this every day for some time. We need to let ourselves feel the feelings we’ve been trying to avoid. We need to let all the aspects of this experience come out. It’s difficult and physically draining. But you need to let yourself experience what’s going on.
Some problems you can solve, but right now you don’t see the solution. For example, financial problems. Too many bills, or not enough income, or an unexpected expense. It’s all too overwhelming, so we set it aside. Intellectually, we know the problem will just get worse. But it’s “just too much” to think about right now.
The answer, of course, is to consider all the pieces of this problem: Your income, your regular bills, your credit, possible sources of loans or other income, payment plans, and so forth. This is definitely a problem that can be solved. It requires a lot of thought; it requires a plan of action; it requires some change in behavior; and it requires asking others for help.
These are just a few examples. In each case the amount of “worry” (thinking about the problem) required is the same. You need to think about it enough to understand the problem.
Oddly enough, most of us spend more emotional energy avoiding our problems than we would spend understanding them if we tried.
You can reduce the amount of “worry” in your life by taking time to relax and simply reflect on what’s going on. If you take time every day to sit down and relax and focus on yourself, you will find these problems a lot less overwhelming.
I try to sit down every day and reflect on four aspects of my life:
- Myself as an individual
- Myself as a partner in a romantic relationship
- Myself as a father
- Myself as a businessman
I rarely make lists of what needs to be done or what problems need to be addressed. I simply think about what’s going on and what I need to do today. If there’s a problem in one of these areas, or with something else, I let my mind consider it. I don’t look for solutions or answers. I do try to consider all aspects of the problem. The goal is to understand everything about the problem. When I think I really understand the problem, then it becomes clearer what I need to do.
Worry brings benefits! More about that next time.