Worry Less: 5 Questions for Stressful Times

“If the worry is reasonable, do something about it. If it’s irrational or out of your control, recognize that.” – Eric Barker

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I am a worrier. I come by it honestly, as my mom is a worrier too. And I fear I have passed this trait on to my daughter. I have gotten better the last several years about stressing less, especially about things I have no control over. Living with a chronic condition has helped me with that. But I still have my moments. And when I do, I recite this quote to myself to help me let things go…

“Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere.”

Rocking chair2

Take a Cue

I read this article this morning in the Washington Post by Eric Barker, called “Take a cue from Buddhists and Stoics and ask yourself these 5 questions to get through stressful times” and thought I would share it with others as a reminder of ways to help cope. A little more zen and a little less stress would do us all some good.

Here’s a summary of the five questions to ask yourself:

1. “Is it useful?” Most worrying isn’t. Make a decision to do something or to let it go.
2. “Does the world owe me this?” No. Don’t be entitled. Have realistic expectations and you won’t get angry.
3. “Must I have this to live a happy life?” Probably not. It takes little to make a happy life and there are many ways to get those things.
4. “Is this who I want to be?” Act the way you do when you’re at your best.
5. “Have I ever felt that way?” Respond to others’ problems with compassion and you’ll both have fewer problems.

This line from the article hits home for me: “If the worry is reasonable, do something about it. If it’s irrational or out of your control, recognize that.”

Stress is a normal part of life – both good and bad stress. It’s how you react to stress that can lead to adverse effects on your health. Needless worrying can produce extra stress, which can flare or exacerbate health problems, such as my fibromyalgia. I don’t want that. My family doesn’t want that. My co-workers and staff definitely don’t want that. I am a much happier, productive person if I control my stress and my health; and irrational worrying has no place in that picture.

Do you have other tips for getting through stressful times, to avoid the useless “worry-rocking chair” situation?

Cheers!

Cynthia