Posted by: ritagone | March 27, 2013

worry

It was Mark Twain who famously said: “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”

If you’re like me, you’re a worrier.  I worry about almost everything.  I worry when I find nothing to worry about.  It’s a hobby.  It’s a neurosis.  I hate myself when I do it…but I can’t stop.

I worry.

I read an interesting article the other day in which were listed five fairly distinct classifications of worry, which I’d like to share with you:

  1. Worries about disasters which, as later events proved, never happened.  These represent about 40% of anxieties.
  2. Worries about decisions made in the past, decisions about which nothing could now be done.  These were about 30% of the anxieties represented.
  3. Worries about possible sickness and a possible nervous breakdown, neither of which materialized.  This was about 12% of the worries.
  4. Worries about one’s children and one’s friends, worries arising from the fact that it was forgotten that people have an ordinary amount of common sense.  This was 10% of worries represented.
  5. Worries that have a real foundation.  Possibly 8% of the total.

 

 

Now, the first step, according to the rest of the article, in the conquest of anxiety is to limit one’s worrying to the few perils in the fifth group.  As you can see, this simple act will eliminate 92% of one’s fears.  Or, to figure the matter differently, it will leave you free from worry 92% of the time.

I usually choose numbers 1, 3 and 4 as my preferred forms of worry.  Hey, at least I don’t spend an inordinate amount of time worrying about decisions made in the past.  Give me credit for that!  But I do worry about the other three, that’s for sure.  For example, I’m about to fly this coming Monday from Los Angeles to London.  Already, this being Wednesday, I’m anticipating and worrying about a plane crash, getting sick in flight, lost luggage, and every malaise or ineptitude that could happen to a world traveler.  I can also fit #3 into this worry scheme so that getting sick while traveling or having a nervous breakdown figure quite largely.

Worrying about one’s children: well, I’m a mother.  Need I say more?  They are almost 38 and 40 years of age, my “babies.”  It doesn’t matter.  Worry comes with the territory.  If I were writing this at 98 years old and my children were 70 and 68 years of age, I would be worrying.  I mean it.  Show me a mother worth her salt and I’ll show you a worrier.  How do you think Anne Hathaway got her Academy Award as Fantine in “Les Miserables”?  She was playing a worried mom.

I’d like to be better at the 8% rule: worrying only about the things that have a real foundation.  Like losing weight, I make this a New Year’s resolution every January 1: Don’t worry so much.  And, like losing weight, by January 2 I’ve reneged.  And started to worry about the other four worrisome items on the list.

So I’m going to try a simple one-step program just for the month of April.  Baby steps.  Instead of making a resolution that takes up an entire year, I’m going to go for a month.  Every morning I’m going to say Philippians 4:6 in the New Living Translation to myself: “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.”  It’s the “instead” part that I’m going to lean on: what I’m going to do instead of worry is pray.  Since 92% of the things I worry about are most likely not going to happen anyway, at least according to that article I read, or at least are not going to happen on that particular day, I’m going to choose to pray.

Why don’t you try it?  Figure out for yourself which of the four categories of worries applies most to you, and then decide – choose rationally and methodically – to not let those worries get to you for an entire month.  Let’s make April No Worries Month!

Meanwhile, I’ve got a flight to catch, and I’ll be missing for the next two weeks.  But don’t worry: I’ll be back with Rita’s Ramblings on April 17 and lots of stories of our Christian Associates Leadership Summit and my fun trip to London afterwards with my good friend Monique Reidy.

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