I was once a chronic worrier. My worrying would inevitably lead to anxiety, and anxiety would lead to fear. This was a crippling and debilitating way to live. I would like to share my story, in hopes it may help others and sharing also helps me. I was a prisoner to my worry, but I am getting closer to wellness.
My worry warts started growing at an early age. I would say about 8 or 9 years of age. My family would affectionately call me, “Fretty Betty” while they tried to convince me that everything would be fine. I would worry about many things, although senseless, it didn’t seem so at the time. The worries could be about anything. I don’t know. If I had a spelling test on Friday at school, I would worry the whole weekend about whether I passed or not. I studied those words rigorously, so I usually scored perfect or pretty close to it. My mom would say, “see you worried for nothing. You did very well.” I would then in fact realize how silly it was to worry, but that realization didn’t stop the worrying.
As I began to grow and mature, I observed that I am most likely genetically predisposed to chronic worrying. My dad was a chronic worrier, as was my grandfather. Growing up, I recalled my dad worrying about bills, taxes, his health, his children, his job security, anything and everything. Like myself, usually everything he spent so many hours brooding over turned out to be just peachy in the end. I saw how crippling this could be in his life and I was determined to change my own life of worry.
So where am I going with this? This all ties in with physical activity. I found that taking long walks in nature really does clear the head. In my late teens and early twenties, my friends and I would walk for hours discussing our dreams, life and fears. It was comforting to know that other people worried too. (albeit, not as much as I did.) I discovered books by Doctor Wayne Dyer and began reading and studying, as Dr. Dyer emphasized that the energy you put out there in the big old universe is what you shall receive. For example, if you believe that you are broke and destitute, you most likely will be. I began to listen to one of my former roommates, Karen. Karen and I shared a tiny flat in downtown Cancun, Mexico. We were both tropical-loving, adventure-seekers and we both shared the same illness, chronic worry syndrome. I don’t know how, but God probably brought us together. Every day, Karen would write down something in a journal. I asked her what she was writing and she showed me her book. It was filled with positive thoughts about her life and dreams, such as, Money comes easily and continuously, I have a job that I love that pays me well, my life is filled with productive and positive beings, I live in a house near the beach. I often would wonder how things always seemed to work out for Karen, and I began to see why. These were just some of the sentences she wrote in her book each morning. Karen convinced me to also keep a journal. I started to write positive thoughts about myself and my life, and I noticed this changed my way of thinking from negative to positive. Instead of thinking I didn’t have enough, I thanked God for giving me all that I had. Every day, we sat on our little rooftop garden, taking in the gorgeous Cancun sunrise, while affirming how fortunate we both are. We started to use the “worse case scenario philosophy.” So what if ran out of money and couldn’t pay our rent? Our good friend Veronica already told us we can live with her anytime, and we could look for jobs while we stay with Veronica. This is a technique I still utilize today.
Additional ways to decrease my worry, is consistent exercise. It makes me feel good about myself, brings me clarity of thought and helps me get a good and peaceful night’s sleep. Although I have only attended three classes to date, Yoga has already alleviated my worry woes and anxiety. After each class, I feel a sense of mental calmness and serenity. I cannot stress this enough. If worrying is your setback, give Yoga a try. Lastly, I cannot end this post without thanking God. Personally, having some kind of spiritual connection to a higher power helps me like you would not believe each day. (what that spiritual connection may be to you is personal.) Every morning, I repeat this verse from Matthew chapter 6, verse 34, focusing on embracing the good times and being prepared to cope in the bad:
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things.”
I would be lying if I said I was completely free from worrying. (just ask my husband) but I am pretty close to freedom. Because after all, having a healthy mind is just as important as having a healthy body.
For further information about positive affirmations, visit my guest blogger and positive affirmation advocate, Wendy’s post Positive Thoughts 101