Updated: Dec 30, 2020
Irrational worries do not occur in an actual space, only in our intangible and infinite minds. Therefore, worries are not subject to any speed limits.
Worries conjured by our minds don’t obey the rules of reality any more than dreams, or nightmares. We can literally have worries about ANYTHING!
Nonsensical worries can dominate a person’s very existence like the most severe physical pain. Worries beget more worries like the proverbial rabbits breeding.
We speak of being worn down by irrational worries as if they are like a heavy sack of potatoes that we have been ordered to carry about on our shoulders. Who gave us this job?
Even the most outlandish worries can scare us while at the same time representing themselves as our guardians from these very same imaginary ‘dangers.’ Since worries adhere to no boundaries, they are free to play fast and loose with our minds. Sometimes, irrational worries operate like gangsters running mental ‘protection rackets.’
Irrational worries can piggyback on common sense fears. It is one thing to socially distance or wear a mask in public during a pandemic, quite another to become a hermit!
Wow, this is getting dark!
Here’s the good news. Worries do not have any real authority to impede our lives, other than that which we allow them. We can totally disregard or disrespect worries with absolutely no risk of retribution. Although worries can be very convincing, they cannot predict the future any better than a bogus fortuneteller. Worries are not our friends!
Many high achievers have big time worries but have learned to function alongside them. Some of them misperceive their worries as ‘motivating.’ Other people attribute their failures to worries, and demotivating, but this is just as untrue. Worries have absolutely no capacity to make us do, or not do, actions. How could they? Again, worries have no physicality.
We specialists in worries have worries about how irrational worries seem to be spreading throughout our culture at an alarming rate. But that can’t help anyone.
What can help are the following tips for putting worries in their place:
Think of worries as a state of mind as opposed to a state of reality.
Distinguish fearing something that can actually be harmful, which is helpful, and irrationally worrying, which, ironically, is harmful.
Accept the presence of worries. Pushing worries away just encourages them. Practice observing but not reacting to irrational worries.
People with public speaking worries are often encouraged to imagine the audience naked - not exactly sure how to imagine worries with their pants down but just trying is fun.
Take worries to an unrealistically extreme and absurd level by imagining the very, very most catastrophic outcome possible. Then laugh at these overblown worries. It’s OK, worries don’t have feelings, they are feelings.
Challenge irrational worries by engaging in life. Do the opposite action of these worries. Prove worries might be in your mind but are out of their mind if they think they can hold you back from doing something positive for yourself.
If you want to learn more about the treatment of worries and other mental health issues, check out nbiweston.com.