“Worry is the misuse of imagination.”
Worry can be powerful and persistent. It can run our life.
Somehow, we tend to believe that worry is actually virtuous – that I am not a good parent unless I worry about my children, that I am being irresponsible if I am not worrying about my business.
Worry is a pattern of thoughts, a certain habit of thoughts. It is a type of thinking that makes us feel as if we were reliving a past event or living out a future one. We may feel that we cannot stop those thoughts from occurring. They are characterized by the phrases “If only…” and “What if…”
- “If only…” thoughts are always about an unhappy event that we wish it had not happened.
The event has left us with an unresolved emotional feeling and our mind continues to try to resolve it, trying to figure out what went wrong and how to fix it. Unfortunately, in many cases, because the event has already happened, nothing can be done. We cannot go back into the past and have the event turn out differently.
- “What if.. ” thoughts are about the future events, about the possible bad things that could happen:
- ‘What if I get ill?”
- “What if I lose my job?”
- “What if I make a mistake?”
Each of these thoughts is about a possible future event. Such thoughts can make us depressed or anxious, no matter how unlikely it is that such an event will actually happen.
Most of things we worry about are things over which we have little or no control. Agonizing about what happened or about what might occur, and about things we cannot control gives our power away.
Worrying is a habit, but like any habit, it can be broken.