Put Your Worries Aside

We all get worried sometimes.  It helps us to anticipate danger and devise plans to avoid it.  However, worrying releases stress hormones.  If we have these hormones coursing through our system for a sustained period, our immune system, heart, and digestive system suffer.  So take action to alleviate these chronic anxieties.


Worries come in two forms: worries about things that can be controlled and things that cannot.  To help sort these out, make a list of your most pressing anxieties.  Then underline the items on the list that you can control.  These are your “productive worries”.  For each, come up with the first step to a solution.  Don’t stress too much about it or you’ll have to add it to the list of worries!  Just think of a small step towards the goal.
For example, a common worry among the elderly is loss of independence.  Some fear being a burden on their children or entering a nursing home.  An easy first step would be to gather more information about all the options that are available.  It does not immediately solve the problem, but it is the first step to a solution.

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As for the worries that we can’t control, they are no less valid than the productive ones.  Allow yourself a set amount of time to worry about them, and then put them in your back pocket for another day.  You will find it freeing to not have the worry constantly looming over your head.