What do you find yourself worrying about?
Your financial situation?
What your neighbors think?
What your friends think?
What you mother thinks?
What might happen if...?
Yeah, I could fill the page with things that we worry about, right?
Seems like no matter how well our lives are rolling along, we can come up with something or someone to worry about!
So what does that tell us about worry? Maybe that it is actually a habit? Somewhere along the line we were "overly concerned" about something and were maybe "rewarded" when "nothing bad" happened, so our subconcious concluded that "If we worry then nothing bad will happen"!
Really? That's some magical thinking right there AND it's what all of us worriers have experienced at some point in our lives and then the habit got stuck. We worry, nothing bad happens, we relax (until the next thing to worry about shows it's face!).
Do you know how long it actually takes for a habit to take hold? Research shows that it can happen in as few as 18 days or take as long as 245 days. On average, though, it takes about 66 days for a new habit to take hold in your life. Sixty six days of consistency in the new habit for it to be your automatic response to a stimulus. Think about that. It only took about 10 weeks of your entire life for you to develop the worry habit. Let that sink in...
So, the good news is that it will only take about that much time for a new (and improved 😊) habit to take it's place!
So now, let's see...what could that new habit be? Hmmmm 🤔. What about Caring? What would your life look like if you could spend less time Worrying and more time Caring?
OK, so let's take a minute and notice the differneces between Worrying and Caring.
From my experience and vantage point (and remember I have observed a lot of worriers in my day!) Worry is fear based and focused on the negative while Caring is actually love based and focuses on the positive. Let that sink in for a moment.
I know that you worriers will argue, "but worrying about someone shows that I care". OK, I hear you, and I know your Anxiety wants you to believe that worrying is an expression of caring AND I am going to call "Bullshit" on your Anxiety. Remember that Anxiety wants to keep your world small and it definitely does not want you to even consider changing such an ingrained habit as your habit of Worrying!
And yet, consider what your life might look like if you could change Worrying to Caring? Worrying keeps us stuck. Caring allows us to take action. Worrying does not help anyone (yeah, I'm going to go right ahead and call you on the Magical Thinking crap!). Caring is all about helping ourselves, our loved ones, our community, the environment, and ultimately our world.
So are you ready to take some action? Maybe spend the next 66 days or so developing a new habit of Caring to replace that old, worn out habit of Worrying? Here are some tips for getting started on this project:
Be compassionate with yourself. Old habits are like dogs with bones. Take your time AND commit to making this change. It is worth it!
Oh, and keep me posted on your progress in the comments below 😊
The voice behind Auntie Anxiety is Lynn Dutrow, Courage Coach and Counselor