Worry Is Not Productive

Why do we feel like worrying about something makes us better prepared for it?

As a student, I used to worry all the time about tests.

As an adult, I worry about work and finances.

As a perfectionist, I worry about all of the things I’m not doing perfectly.

Something about the worry feels productive.  Somewhere along the line, I think I internalized a story that says, “If you care about something, you worry about it.”

Do you feel the same thing?  Does worrying about an important upcoming conversation feel productive to you?  Do you feel like you’re rehearsing and preparing for it, when in reality you’re just thinking about all of the things that could go wrong?

Or if you’re worrying about your health or your finances, does worrying about it make you feel like you’re taking it seriously?  Do you feel like by paying constant attention to it, you’re making progress in some way?

I worry about all of those things and more.  But this past week, I tried a new strategy.  Every time I started to worry about something, I tried to take conscious action to do something about it.

For example, instead of worrying about my new speech, I actually rehearsed it out loud.  Instead of worrying about my album, I edited lyrics for it.  Instead of stressing about finances, I contacted more people with value propositions for my business.

By the end of the week, I was amazed by (1) how much I had accomplished, and (2) how my actions had helped reduce my worry and stress by creating positive results.

So my challenge for you is this:  whenever you’re feeling worried or stressed about something, take concrete action instead of just worrying about it.

If you can’t take action to address your worry, then that’s probably a sign that whatever you’re worried about is out of your control.  Problems that are out of our control are definitely not ones to worry about. #serenityprayer

What are some worries that you can now take action about instead of worrying about them?

Originally posted September 28, 2015 on www.blakebrandes.com/blog.