Keep Worries Down…but how?
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A new year is an official reboot, a chance to rewrite bad chapters. Yet 10% or less achieve new year goals. My goal is to overcome worry, yet I worry I can’t.
Worry has its place in vigilance and protection. Interestingly, studies show that worriers have high intelligence. (But that comes with few bragging rights. Try explaining, “I haven’t slept in two days because I’m so smart.”)
I’m a night worrier. Seemingly carefree during the day, I am surrounded by anxious specters at bedtime. An unfamiliar pain morphs into faux cancer, and I imagine moving my bed into the living room for when I become an invalid. I’ll want more light and a big screen TV. Or because I didn’t [fill in the blank], things will collapse. Or “Why-oh-why did I say that?” even though the conversation took place ten years ago. My Greek chorus of “what if’s” is loud and offkey.
At times, I am paralyzed by world news, fake news, and a myriad of things I cannot control.
Yet Jesus once said, “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
That profound question is about surrender and keeping faith with God to be your best self. Many religions teach meditation and prayer. Mindfulness through yoga brings calm. Buddhists practice detachment to both success and failure, and live in “the now.” God’s big picture of time and purpose surpasses all understanding, so stop trying to have it explained in full.
To let go, I reach into my spiritual reserves. I sit quietly for 15 minutes in prayer and meditation to feel surrender and the relief it brings. Reading the Book of Psalms in its poetic array of hope, misery, anger, marvel and jubilation remind me of my humanity and that I do not struggle alone.
On a practical side, I tackle what affects my sleep to break the cycle of fatigue and worry. Late night TV and eating are my bane. They are bad habits cultivated to avoid worrying, but ironically, they rob me of sleep. So instead I read a book in bed, far from the fridge, and I fall asleep earlier. Do that three times in a row, and I will establish a replacement behavior for passing out in front of bad TV wasted on cookies.
The new year is an official beginning, but every day is full of fresh starts. Awakening each morning. Mondays. Birthdays and other milestones. A new sports season. Be forgiving of yourself and keep a “new year” mindset alive every day. Embracing a new chance staves off discouragement. When I’m my best self, everything else falls into place, or allows me to deal with things better. Blessings in the New Year!