When working on recovery there seems to be a long list of concerns — relationships, employment, money, health, regrets, guilt, the future and the list goes on. We certainly have a lot to worry about it, but does it get in our way of recovery or help us to improve? Glenn Turner observed, “Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.”

Worrying Saps Our Emotional Energy

Worrying often saps our emotional energy and makes it difficult to concentrate since our mind is clouded. Corrie ten Boom said, “Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

Robert L. Leahy, PhD, outlined some reasons we worry:

•    Maybe I’ll find a solution.
•    I don’t want to overlook anything.
•    If I keep thinking a little longer, maybe I’ll figure it out.
•    I don’t want to be surprised.
•    I want to be responsible.
These reasons make sense and so we keep worrying. We think we can get some benefit from worrying so we continue.

A Time to Worry

Limiting the time we worry can be helpful. Set aside a day and time to jump in and think about the problem. Worry all we want, but set a time limit too, maybe 30 minutes. After the worrying session, let it be until next week’s session. If something comes up before your next worrying session, jot it down and create an agenda.

During our worrying meeting we can think and plan. Winston Churchill advised, “Let our advance worrying become advance thinking and planning.” Some worries are solvable and we can develop a plan of action. You can even include dates the plan will be implemented.

Other worries can be out of our control. We should admit and accept that we do not have power over them. We can write down a list of worries that are out of our control, then use scissors to cut the paper into pieces and discard.

Directing our Minds

We want to teach our mind that we direct where it goes and we can stop the endless worrying. Over time, we can direct our minds and enhance our emotional power by choosing when we think about life’s difficult issues.

© 2014 Rod W. Jeppsen