Worry kills more people than work because more people worry than work.
Its not as though there aren’t things that are worthy of worry. If you start with financial pressures, work expectations, cutbacks, relational strains, health crises…where do you stop? However, over half of Canadians report irritability, anger, fatigue or sleeplessness.
Worry can be a bad habit…the most deadly one.
Here’s how you can break the worry habit before it breaks you:
1. Decide just how much anxiety a thing may be worth and refuse to give it more. If you don’t worry at all, that is living in denial. Worry has a productive function. It motivates you to take constructive action. Habitual worry paralyses you, causing you to slow down, pull back and will make you physically sick. Control worry and put it to work for you by limiting its lifespan in your mind.
2. Don’t bring tomorrow’s troubles into today. Worry does not empty tomorrow of its problems; it empties today of its power. Jesus cautioned, “…do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34 Mark Twain said, ““I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them have never happened.”
3. Fill your mind with thoughts of peace, courage, health and hope. You can only think of one thing at a time. Clear your mind of the clutter. “…fill your minds with those things that are good…things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and honorable.” Philippians 4:8
4. Never worry about getting even with people who hurt you. Getting even drags you into the gutter. Free yourself by taking the high road. That’s why Jesus said, “… love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” Matthew 5:44
5. Count your blessings – not your troubles. Where your focus goes your energy flows. Sap the life out of worry but refusing to be preoccupied by your troubles. Count your blessings. List the people and experiences you can be grateful for. Are you taking anyone for granted? Do the math – count the blessing your family, friends, and associates bring to your life and let them know how grateful you are for them.
6. Profit from your losses. “Failing forward” is more than a catchy phrase. Anybody trying anything that is worth doing will fail. If you’re not failing, you’re not risking. Don’t worry about your failure. Use it as a springboard for greater achievement.
7. Pray. The more you pray, the less you’ll panic. The more you worship, the less you worry. “Don’t worry about anything, but in all your prayers ask God for what you need, always asking him with a thankful heart.” Philippians 4:6
8. Remember that unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment. “Consider the source” has saved me from a lot of worry when it comes to criticism. Sometimes critics pick on an obscure part of your life or behaviour because that’s the only fault they can find with you. Rather than be peeved that they are so petty, take it as a pat on the back that your behaviour is exemplary.
9. Rest before you get tired. A tired mind is a dangerous mind. Fatigue makes cowards of us all. Rest before you are tired so you can try again when you are refreshed. Take a brief break every 60 minutes during the day. Get up from your desk…go for a walk…stretch. Sometimes a change is as good as a rest. Change your place. Change your posture. Change your info intake.
APPLICATION: Which of the nine practices have you used successfully? Which one stands out as “what I need right now.” Please leave a comment below.
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