I had a conversation once with a student who was deeply concerned over her math test. This bright young lady was always concerned over her tests and yet was a straight A student. (In this case, she would score a 95.) I asked her whether she worried a lot, and she replied, “All the time.” Then, I asked her to reflect on all of the worries she’d ever had and how many actually turned out to be justified. She promptly admitted with a look of surprise, “Hardly any.” I said I figured as much and told her I wanted her to think long and hard about our conversation. For her sake, I hope she did.
Have you ever noticed that some people are chronic worriers while others take things in stride? I’ve often wondered how hard life must be for worriers. They face the same uncertainties as more easygoing types, but somehow manage to focus on what could go wrong. It shows up in their stress level, appearance, and disposition.
Very early in life, I decided to minimize worry because it rarely did me any good. I learned to adopt a phrase my mom always said: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I realized that things generally worked out fine anyway and even when they didn’t, I somehow managed to deal with them. I learned that the best approach is to focus on the problem and on what I can control.
If you happen to be the worrying type, I encourage you to reflect on the following questions:
- How often have your worries actually been justified?
- If things didn’t work out, did you still deal with them well?
- Can you remember what you worried about a year ago?
- What do you tend to worry about and why? Can you instead channel your worries into a productive plan?
- What can you do to worry less and trust more?
Rest assured that all of us go through challenges and worries. In fact, our greatest character growth comes from enduring trials, which often prove to be for our own good. So if you’re a worrier, do yourself (and those around you) a favor: take charge of your worries rather than letting them take charge of you!
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” Leo Buscaglia
In uncertain situations, do you tend to worry a lot? What steps can you take to worry less and trust more? Share your suggestions by commenting below; we’d love to hear your input!