Worry … Wait

As a person prone to worry, I’ve built up quite a bag-of-tricks over the years to help me deal with anxiety: schedule in time for what matters most (family, quiet time, and exercise); envision the worst-case scenario and bring it into the light; and focus on the things I do have control over. Recently, I found myself dealing with anxiety…again. This week, a chapter from Attitude Is Everything: 10 Rules for Staying Positive, titled Wait to Worry, spoke to my heart.
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Whether you, too, are dealing with worry or the regular ups and downs of life in general, you’ll find Attitude Is Everything to be a refreshing read. Take a moment to be inspired by today’s excerpt, which focuses on Rule #1: Wait to Worry.

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Michelle Sedas
Host of the Inspired Living Center
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Excerpted from Attitude Is Everything by Vicki Hitzges
Rule #1 Wait to Worry

“Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.”
~Charles Spurgeon

I used to worry. A lot. The more I fretted, the more proficient I became at it. Anxiety begets anxiety. I even worried that I worried too much! Ulcers might develop. My health could fail. My finances could be depleted to pay the hospital bills. To get some perspective, I visited a well known Dallas businessman, Fred Smith. Fred mentored such luminaries as motivational whiz Zig Ziglar, business guru Ken Blanchard and leadership expert John Maxwell. Fred listened as I poured out my concerns and then said, “Vicki, you need to learn to wait to worry.”

As the words sank in, I asked Fred if he ever spent time fretting. To my surprise, he confessed that in years gone by he had been a top-notch worrier! As a young man, Fred landed a high-paying executive job. Yet he’d only earned a high school degree. He was afraid someone with a college degree would come along and snag his job. Each night after work, he sat with a cup of coffee worrying about losing his position because he thought no other job could compare to the one he had. As he fretted, he started to realize that he wasn’t anxious based on fact, he was anxious based on his imagination. He was borrowing trouble.

He thought to himself, “Fred, are you a better, more valuable employee if you stay up late worrying? Do you do your best work if you’re tired and tense?” “I decided that I would wait to worry!” he explained. “I decided that I’d wait until I actually had a reason to worry – something that was happening, not just something that might happen – before I worried. As it turns out, I never lost that job. My boss was very happy with my performance.”

“When I’m tempted to get alarmed,” he confided, “I tell myself, ‘Fred, you’ve got to wait to worry! Until you know differently, don’t worry.’ And I don’t. Waiting to worry helps me develop the habit of not worrying and that helps me not be tempted to worry.”

Are you worried? Take Fred’s advice: Wait!