I am not really a worrier. I think most people would say I take after my dad - I am a glass half-full, basically optimistic person. There may be times I rant to my friends or complain about a situation or have concern over a family member, but I don't really have the tendency to dwell on things, stew over things, and so forth. My dad has always taught me when there is a situation, consider all the outcomes. What is the worst case possibility? How would you handle that? When you are prepared for even the worst case scenario, at least you can still be prepared, and hopefully you have faith and emotional support to get you through. And most of the time the worst case scenario never happens.
But boy, do I know people close to me and acquaintances who struggle with worry and anxiety. This is for you.
Excerpts taken from "Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World" by JoAnna Weaver.
10 Signs of a Big Worrier
1) You find you spend much more time in useless, nonconstructive worry than other people you know.
2) People around you comment on how much of a worrier you are.
3) You feel that it is bad luck or tempting fate not to worry.
4) Worry interferes with your work - you miss opportunities, fail to make decisions, perform at lower than optimal level.
5) Worry interferes with your close relationships - your spouse and/or friends sometimes complain that your worrying is a drain on their energy and patience.
6) You know that many of your worries are unrealistic or exaggerated, yet you cannot seem to control them.
7) Sometimes you feel overwhelmed by worry and even experience physical symptoms such as rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, or trembling.
8) You feel a chronic need for reassurance even when everything is fine.
9) You feel an exaggerated fear of certain situations that other people seem to handle with little difficulty.
10) Your parents or grandparents were known as great worriers, or they suffered from an anxiety disorder.
What We Worry About
40% are about things that will never happen.
30% are about he past - which can't be changed.
12% are about criticism by others, mostly untrue.
10% are about health, which gets worse with stress.
8% are about real problems that can be solved.
Concern vs. Worry
Concern... involves a legitimate threat
Worry... is often unfounded
Concern... is specific (one thing)
Worry... Is generalized (spreads to many things)
Concern... Addresses the problem
Worry... Obsesses about the problem
Concern... Solves problems
Worry... Creates more problems
Concern... Looks to God for the answer
Worry... Looks to self or other people for answers
Top Ten Ways to Tame Your Worry Habit
10. Separate toxic worry from genuine concern. Determine if you can do anything about your situation. If so, sketch a plan to handle it.
9. Don't worry alone. Share your concerns with a friend or counselor. You may receive helpful advice. Talking your fears out with someone often reveals solutions that were invisible before.
8. Take care of your physical body. Regular exercise and adequate rest can defuse a lot of worry. When our bodies are healthy, our minds can handle stress better and react more appropriately.
7. Do what is right. A guilty conscience can cause more anxiety than a world of problems. Do your best to live above reproach. Take care of mistakes quickly by confessing and seeking forgiveness.
6. Look on the bright side. Consciously focus on what is good around you. Don't let yourself speak negatively, even about yourself.
5. Control your imagination. Be realistic about the problems you face. Try to live in the "here and now" not in the "what might be".
4. Prepare for the unexpected. Put aside a cash reserve and take sensible measures so you'll be ready if difficulties arise.
3. Trust God. Keep reminding yourself to put God in your equation. Then, when fear knocks, you can send faith to answer the door.
2. Meditate on God's promises. Scripture has the power to transform our minds. Look for scriptures that deal with your particular areas of anxiety. Answer life's difficulties with God's Word.
1. Pray! "Oh what peace we often forfeit,/O what needless pain we bear,/All because we do not carry/everything to God in prayer".