A Quick Trick to Ease Your Worry

Recently I found myself worrying more than usual. Not about one thing in particular - just anything and everything. In no particular order, I worried: that someone I care about would get Covid (they did). That I wouldn’t be ready for court (I was). That I’d get into an accident (I didn’t). That my kids were eating too much sugar (they were and still are).

After all this worrying, I realized something: whatever I was worried about was either going to happen or it wasn’t. I had very little control over it. Sure, I could prepare for court, be careful when driving, and stop buying vats of Haagen-Dazs. But a great deal – say about 90% - of the things I was worried about were in someone (or no one) else’s control.

I also realized that whatever I was worrying about that day was sucking up my energy. Between imagining the worst (you do it too; experts call it awfulizing) and googling statistics, I was spending a lot of time fretting. But I wasn’t actually doing anything to improve the situation. Does this feel familiar?

Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow.

It empties today of its strength.

-Corrie ten Boom

If you’re in the midst of a separation or divorce - or heck, just living through this pandemic with the rest of us - you might find yourself worrying more right now too. If so, try this little exercise: For each thing you’re worried about, ask yourself this question: What is one thing I can do right now that can lessen my worry? Then do that. I know that sounds trite, but wouldn’t doing one thing be a better use of your time than continuing to worry unproductively? After a few days of using this trick myself, I noticed I was worrying a lot less.

Here’s help to get you started in a few areas you might be worried about:

And if you can’t figure out even one thing you can do to lessen whatever it is you’re worried about?That’s a sign that it truly is out of your control, and your energy might be better spent on learning to let it go.

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