Monday Motivator: Don’t Confuse Worrying with Planning

People who chronically worry often defend themselves by equating worry with care. “Of course, I’m worried. I love you.” And I do think it’s hard not to worry about people we love. I am a worrier, and I’ve always been. As a kid, when my dad was late getting home from work, I would pace from window to window, hoping to get a glance of his car so that I would know  he was all right.

Unfortunately, worry on its own does little good. It makes us feel bad and does nothing to help others. But sometimes it just sneaks up on you, and there you are in its grasp and it seems that nothing will loosen it.

This happened to me yesterday. I was getting ready for a medical test that has to be done this week. It’s a regular thing, but still unpleasant, involving a liquid diet. I was so worried about it that I couldn’t settle to anything. I drove to the mall, just to walk around and get out of the house. While I was worrying, I didn’t get much else done, including laundry, cleaning, or even reading.  I did stop by the grocery store and buy the few things I could eat: jello and Popsicles.

Did all this worrying help? Not at all. In fact, it had an even more negative effect. I spent a good hour online looking up this procedure and reading other people’s horror stories. Could I have spent the time better? Well, yes. Even looking beyond the laundry and cleaning, I could have done something much more practical. Today, when I opened my package of Popsicles, I found that there were 9 grape and cherry (the 2 flavors I couldn’t have) and only 3 orange. So unwashed and unkempt, I had to run out to the grocery store and buy some more.

So planning for unfortunate events is helpful. Worrying about them is probably inevitable. The important thing is not to confuse one with the other.



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