Do You Ever Outgrow Worry?
Early one morning I was sitting in a coffee shop, and an older gentleman walked in. He was a bit hunched over from the years as he shuffled in and took a seat across the way.
I wondered if he still worried at his age. Then I thought, is there ever a time when you stop worrying?
When I was a young man, I remember seeing older people and wished I was in their situation. They had already made many of their choices, and their decisions seemed to have turned out okay for them. Now that I’m older, I know you make choices every day, and the potential for worry is always there.
Each day is still filled with the opportunity to make choices and to explore, but it can also be filled with worry and doubt.
After I spent some time thinking about the old man and wondering if he worried at his age, I realized worrying is a choice we make every day.
If you’re a worrier, you’ve developed worry habits throughout your life that support your worrying.
You’ve formed these habits because at one time they served you well. Maybe they helped you focus on what you thought was important. Perhaps you learned to worry because that’s what your family or friends did.
For what ever reason, you’ve learned to worry and now, if you choose, you can unlearn those habits.
There are many techniques for reducing and eliminating worry, and we’ve found most start by breaking the habit. The best way to break the habit is to interrupt the pattern.
When I catch myself starting to worry, I’ll call myself out.
- First, I bring my worry out of the dark and acknowledge it.
- Next, I’ll try to identify it as precisely as I can.
- Then, I’ll try to look at it in a larger timeframe – will I care about it a year from now?
Just doing that is sometimes enough to knock me out of my worry pattern.
It takes practice, but after a while, it get easier. Plus, I can do it no matter how young or old I am.