We love this quote from Winston Churchill: “When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.” Worrying has many negative health effects. Some of us worry more than others but, regardless, worrying robs us of precious time we could spend on enjoying the moment.
This week’s #BeBetter52 challenge is to schedule a worry appointment. Schedule a 10-minute period where you either worry about anything on your mind or just journal if you have nothing to worry about. Your worry appointment should be early enough that it won’t make you anxious before bed; the rest of your day should remain a worry-free zone.
If an anxious thought or worry comes into your head during the day, simply write it down and then postpone thinking about it until your worry appointment. During your worry appointment, look over the “worry list” you have made throughout the day. Reflect on the list and, if some of the worries are still bothering you, allow yourself to worry about them for 10 minutes. If the worries are no longer a pressing issue, you can cut your worry appointment short.
According to Healthy Psych: "Psychology Tools: Schedule Worry Time" many chronic worriers believe they can’t control their thoughts. But, the fact is that you can learn to control how often and when you worry – through practice. Whatever we do as humans over and over again, we get better at. If we give in to our mind’s pull to worry, at random intervals throughout the day, then the ability to worry will grow stronger. Alternatively, if you limit the amount of time and energy you spend worrying, this habit will start to diminish in intensity and frequency
Worrying naturally causes stress. When your body feels threatened in any way, it sets off a fight-or-flight response that prompts a variety of changes within. Stress causes both blood pressure and heart rate to increase, leading to a variety of health problems if prolonged.
According to Psychology Today, here are some possible health issues that can arise from worrying:
• Persistently elevated blood pressure and heart rate raises your risk of cardiovascular disease, which is already the leading cause of death in the developed world. • A depressed immune system makes it harder for your body to fight off all sorts of diseases, including cancer, or battle them once you do get sick. • Stress reduces the protective fluids in the lining of the digestive system, exacerbating the risk and severity of ulcers and other digestive disorders. • Stress changes blood chemistry and, if persistent, those changes raise your risk of diabetes. • Those blood chemistry changes are also why chronic stress is associated with greater likelihood of clinical depression. • Chronic stress impairs the formation of new fast-growing cells, like bone and hair. Excessive worry, over a long time, can cause baldness. • Chronic stress reduces your ability to form new memories and recall others.
Prolonged worry can be detrimental to your health. The goal of this week’s challenge is to try to help you control your worrying so it does not take control of your day.
Here are more links to help you stop worrying: