Stress Managment: Worry is the Prescription for an Ulcer
Have you ever listened to someone, perhaps even to your self, talk about being worried? You'll hear things like, "I'm so worried", "I'm worried sick", or as my mom used to tell me, "You worry me to death!"
Certainly makes worry sound like a very powerful force, doesn't it? And as a matter of fact, it is. Worry can make us sick, and in it's most extreme form, it can kill us.
Then why in the world do we do this thing called worry? For some people, it's simply become an emotional habit that they no longer think about. "I come from a family of worriers", as if it's a genetic feature like eye color. For others, it's how to show you care about someone. "If I didn't care about you, I wouldn't worry", as if worry is a form of love someone would want to receive.
Here's what happens when we worry: because our brain cannot tell the difference between reality and a vividly imagined picture (worry), we respond the same way emotionally. So when we worry, our brains have gone into the future and created a vivid living color picture of our worry, and then our emotions, and even our physiology, rush up to match the picture.
Here's a little experiment that will clearly show what I mean. Picture yourself at home in your kitchen, and then walking over to the refrigerator and pulling out a great big juicy lemon. Take it over to the counter, cut it in half, smell the juice and feel the juice on your fingers. Now cut one of the halves in half. More juice, more smell. Now cut a slice from one of the sections. More juice, more smell. Now bring that slice up to your nose and take a sniff. Then, finally, take a big bite of the lemon.
If your are like most folks, your mouth is watering now, and you may even be puckering up a bit too. Here's the important thing to notice for our purposes: there is no lemon. You vividly imagined, with my guidance, a picture that caused a physiological response in your body. Remember, there is no lemon.
And so it is when we worry.
So that leaves us with a couple of choices when we worry: we can get an ulcer or we can get moving. Let's take a closer look at each of these options.
How to Get an Ulcer
Worry. A lot. Raise it to an art form.
Make sure to worry about things you can do nothing about.
Or if you are worried about things you can do something about, be sure not to do anything about it.
Let your worry cause you to live all your moments in the future, missing the present of the present.
Become a "what-if person": you know, "what if this happens, what if that happens....."
How to Get Moving
Make a distinction between worry and concern. Worry freezes you, concern motivates you.
Allow your worry and concern to motivate you to plan for the future. Remember, the best way to predict the future is to create as much of it as you can.
Pray. A lot.
Since worry is really nothing more than using our imagination in a negative way, turn the process on it's head. Instead of vividly imagining the worst possible outcome, switch to vividly imagining the best possible outcome, and/or the outcome you would like to have happen.
I've saved the best for last. The best cure that I know for worry is to TAKE ACTION! Create a plan, plan for the future, do every thing you can to prevent the negative outcomes you don't want and do every thing you can to get the positive outcomes you do want.
The neat thing here is that if you do all the above suggestions to get moving, you won't have time or space in your brain to worry. And my guess is you will enjoy life much more.
Thanks for reading, and keep the change.
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