Worrywarts unite!

leafWorry is like the little leaf that got caught in my windshield wiper this morning. It seems harmless at first, but like the little leaf flapping, worry can become such a distraction that it’s hard to focus on what is important.

The problem with worry is that it is usually unfounded, unhealthy and unproductive. It’s the health concern with no proof, or the money fears over what might happen, or anxiety over a conversation you need to have.

It can keep you awake at night, make you lose your appetite, or make you cranky and on edge. The best thing to do is deal with it directly and get back to your life.

Instead of trying to ignore worry, face it head on. Worry is just a form of fear, and fear hates to be exposed. Write down the things that concern you – even the wild ones that are highly unlikely. Once you have your list, then you can start addressing each item.

Draft an outline of actions you could take for each worry on your list. If you are afraid you might be laid off, your action might be to update your resume. If you have a health concern, then the action might be to make an appointment to have it checked out.

Once you actually see the worries written out, they won’t seem so scary and vague anymore. Depending on how likely it is that one or more of those things would really happen, you might need a series of actions to counteract it.

But don’t stop there, because that will just shift the anxiety. Since most of our apprehensions are at least somewhat possible (disregard the ones that are wildly unlikely), you might as well take that first step.

If it’s the fear of a job loss, go ahead and update your resume and profile on Linked In. It is better to have things like that updated anyway, and you will have time to think it through and make it more effective and concise if you aren’t scurrying around in panic mode.

For a health concern, make the appointment for a checkup. Other worries are best addressed directly – difficult conversations will rarely go away on their own, and putting them off tends to make the situation more desperate, causing you to say things you don’t intend. As challenging as it might be, go ahead and open that dialogue, move forward toward action, and make progress toward resolution.

By taking steps to move ahead  toward relieving worries, you will find that your mental energy is freed up and you can think more clearly and make better decisions. And then you will wonder why it took you so long!

What steps can you take toward relieving one worry today?