Wednesday, January 7, 2015

A Few Reflections on Worry

I’m a little late posting this – Deacon Ken, as usual, had a good article in my parish bulletin a couple of weeks ago.


Another New Year is approaching and sometimes we look ahead with optimism for what's to come, while others look at it with anxiety. Anxiety pokes a hole in the bottom of the boat. If you don't plug the hole, your spirit will sink. I have faced many problems and difficult situations in life, and have never found one that improved with worry. Worry only multiplies negative energy. Think about it for a moment. If you worry about something bad that doesn't happen, you expend emotional energy needlessly. If you worry about something bad that DOES happen, you expend emotional energy twice – on both ends of the problem.

Why not just let things unfold – and conserve your emotional energy until you actually have to deal with the bad situation? We cannot control most of what we worry about. This is our feeble attempt to manage the uncontrollable. If you can't do something about it, then the issue is not a problem – it is a fact of life, no use fretting and stewing over something you cannot control.

Worry is contagious. Verbalizing anxieties is like sneezing in the car – you pass the virus on to everyone around you. Pretty soon, everybody's negative. Before spewing negative thoughts ask yourself if these are the kind of words you want to hear. If not, change the channel. You will receive whatever you dish out to others. Like dandelions, it's best to nip worries at the first rising so they do not germinate and spread. Where worries multiply, joy decreases. It is impossible to be anxious-ridden and joyful at the same time. One always expels the other.

There's a good reason why Jesus said, "Do not worry about tomorrow." Every day has enough challenge without adding concerns about things that haven't reached us yet. This doesn't mean we shouldn't plan ahead. Thoughtful foresight increases the odds of a good outcome. The difference between planning ahead and worrying is the negative emotional energy. Are you stewing your way forward – or figuring it out positively?

So let's welcome the New Year with optimism and hope.

I would like to add some thoughts of my own. Many of us tend to put things off. Perhaps we think it will go away if we just ignore it. Perhaps. But more than likely it is not going away. It needs to be addressed. If not, it is going to stay in your mind and increase your worry and anxiety.

I do something that I call “one thing.” Usually early in the morning I review what needs attention and I ask myself: What is the one thing I can to today to address this problem or issue? Some issues are complex, you may have to get advice from another, but usually it only takes some thought on your part, perhaps some research, or getting some advice from a professional in that area. The idea is not ignoring it, but do something positive in addressing it. Perhaps that day there is nothing you can do, but you may be able to do it tomorrow.

Have a blessed new year.


Louis M said...

Thanks for posting!

Louis M said...

Where did you go? :(

Tom, O.F.S. said...

Sorry brother. Been busy as usual
Thanks for you comments.

Louis M said...

As long as you are OK, fratello. :)