Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows; it empties today of its strength. ~ Corrie ten Boom
Worry is a first cousin to fear – a wasteful, sneaky, whisper-in-your-ear kind of cousin. In my own quest to be less fearful, I’ve found the following strategies to be the most helpful:
Allow Yourself One Big Fear (and/or several small ones). And don’t beat yourself up over it. Fear can be normal and helpful (see my post on survival instinct). Everyone is afraid of something, even big, burly manly men – they just hide it better. I say, if you can carry on your daily life, moving forward more than you move backward, then your fear is not a problem.
Rehearse/Prepare. I don’t suggest we think about our fear or worry continuously – that might already be part of the problem. But consider what you’re really worried or fearful about. Afraid to talk to someone in person or on the phone? Write out what to say ahead of time. Are you actually afraid of the unknown in a situation rather than the situation itself? Before going on a job interview: research the job, the company, and ask yourself/answer possible interview questions.
Share. Don’t go it alone. If you’re worried about raising your kids, find mothers in your neighborhood, at church, at your child’s school to hang out with or talk to. Whatever the situation, talking to someone can help work through our fears. And chances are, someone is going through the same kind of thing or has already made it through the other side.
Pray. Some people don’t consider prayer logical. But belief in Someone greater than yourself, who cares for you and has the power to do anything, is a necessity of life these days. Prayer can chase away worry and bring peace to a troubled soul.
Get Involved. Helping others, helps yourself. It takes the energy that your worry wastes and channels it toward someone or something that needs it more. There are people all around us that need help, many of them in worse places than we are.
Be Grateful. It’s been said that the fastest escape from worry is appreciation. Imagine how good we could feel if we spent our time appreciating what we have in life instead of wasting it on worry. For ideas on making gratitude a habit, go to my post Have a Grateful Day.
Act. Doing something is really what this list is about. Anything that causes worry should be acted on, not just thought about. Even the smallest action can alleviate fear. Make a list, make a plan, make a phone call. Go on the internet and do research.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy. ~ Dale Carnegie
These are just a few suggestions, but if worry or fear has taken over your life to the point that you can’t leave the house or if you’re overwhelmed/depressed and are having trouble carrying on, please talk to someone – seek out a listening ear at your church or with a health care professional. Sometimes we do need help outside ourselves, and that’s okay. We weren’t meant to go through life alone.
How do you deal with worry?