Yesterday I posted a picture on my Facebook Page (KnuuddyKnews).Check it out! It's a picture of a beautiful sunset. On the picture is a wonderful quote by Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch Christian watchmaker, who later became a writer. She worked with her father and her sister and other family members to help many Jews escape from the Nazis during the Holocaust. Here is the quote,
"Worry doesn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength."
What a powerful quote! Really take some time to think about that quote. Has real worry ever done anything useful in your life? I'm not talking about gazing into future possibilities and taking precautions. That can be a valuable exercise. But what I'm referring to is the true stress inducing worry that continues even after the precautions have been implemented.
"Is Dad going to be OK, now that mom has passed?"
"My daughter is living in the big city now...will she be safe?"
"I'm not sure I'm meeting my boss's expectations...I think she is going to fire me."
"That cough has been with me for over two weeks now. It's probably cancer."
These kind of worries and hundreds, if not thousands, of others can take over in our mind and lead to anxiety and stress. And here is the dangerous part. These worries do nothing to change what the future holds. Dad will probably be ok. My daughter is smart and can take care of herself. The boss is probably not going to fire me and the cough is probably just a lingering cough caused by a cold. But what if that's not the case. What if the worst case scenario happens? Ask yourself this...did all the time I spent fretting and worrying do anything to alter the ultimate outcome. The worry didn't empty tomorrow of its sorrow.
And that leads us to the second part of the quote. All the time devoted to worry is an act of theft! You are stealing from your own day. It takes you out the present moment, so whatever you are doing no longer is getting your full attention. It is the ultimate in negative thinking. Today is emptied of its strength.
So what can we do instead? Well, I'm not a believer of wallowing in negative thinking of any kind. My first reaction when I find mind going there is to start moving. Get up and go do something, anything to move your mind off the thought you are worrying about. Go for a walk! Put on some music and dance like nobody is watching. Do some pushups. Anything to get you up and moving.That's the first step. The second step is also an action step. Worried about dad? Schedule activities with him, call him on the phone, send him a quick text. Try to help him stay busy. Worried about your daughter's safety? Help her develop some action steps she can take to make her safer and to avoid dangerous situations. Check in with her. Ask a friend near her to check in with her as well. Worried your boss is going to fire you? Schedule a meeting to ask for feedback. Ask what you can do to improve, then put together a plan to make that happen. Health concerns? Pick up your phone and call your doctor's office and schedule a visit.
Every one of these steps is an action step. Action is the key to reducing stress and anxiety...try it!