How do I stop the constant worries from clouding my mind? Is there anything I can do?
Worry – Do you have a problem?
- No. Then, don’t worry.
- Yes. Can you do something about it?
- No. Then don’t worry.
- No. Then don’t worry.
Worry grows like a cancer inside our heart and mind and will slowly consume you bit by bit. These worrisome thoughts that grow inside us will never ever change the outcome of a situation, make something happen, or change some else’s mind. Worry will not solve any problems, but will only take a peaceful mind and twist and twist until it is broken. Anxiety can become the result of too much time spent in worry and anxiety occurred for me when I thought I had to figure out everything all at once. My anxiety had a tight grip and control over my actions and my being that I was paralyzed. I could not leave my home to go to the grocery store most days. I was solely focused on what could go wrong, what others were thinking about me in their mind, what questions I might be asked by others, etc . . .
Over thinking, anxiety, and worry ruined life for me. It twisted reality around so much that it ruined the way I saw life and made it impossible to see and think clearly. Did I enjoy those feelings? No. Did I want and need some change? Absolutely. Living in the present and doing things for others helps me keep the anxiety and worry at bay. Exercise has been very helpful as a way to distract my mind from worrisome thoughts and now I attend many AA meetings that pull everything back into a great perspective and remind me to meditate and read if I find my mind wandering down that particular road.
Do something for somebody else without being found out. Don’t even let them know that you did it. I remember a story a friend shared with me a while back about doing things for strangers. Her grandmother grew up with nothing in her childhood and was also
a very giving woman. She could never pass up a hitchhiker. My friend never understood why she would do those things and was afraid her grandmother was going to be hurt or robbed by one of these strangers. Eventually she became concerned enough and asked “why do you keep picking these people up Grandma?”. Her grandmother couldn’t have put it better and simply replied, “Because someday darlin’, it might be me.” and left it at that.
I couldn’t stand myself when I drank. I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror without feelings of hatred, shame, grief, and others. Giving to people, and I mean giving without any expectations at all, fuels me with peace. You can give material possessions, time, money, several other options exist. Remember, once you let it out of your hands and give it to somebody else, it is theirs. It is not yours anymore. I had to learn that I had no control over the gifts I gave also. I would have expectations for the gifts I gave. The recipient might waste it, throw it away, leave it on the floor.
“I have had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” – Mark Twain. Worry jars can be helpful tools as well. You simply write down any situations you are worried about as they come and then fold up the paper and place it into an empty coffee container, mason jar, or any other type of vessel you have to hold them. Then, at a predetermined time in the future, maybe a few months, maybe a year, you open the jar and read back through what you wrote down.I have used a “worry jar” in the past and I will tell you honestly, most of the worries I wrote down never came to pass or fixed themselves. I had even forgotten some of them. If you are struggling with worry you might even give this a try also. Write down what you believe your life will be like a year from now. After one year, pull out what you have written and see how it measures up. If you have been current with your sobriety and working your program of recovery, I would be willing to bet you will cut yourself short. Try it again for another year and I am positive you will sell yourself short again. We live a life better than we ever could imagine.