This darling commercial features a dog who buried his bone, and then worried so much about its safety, he couldn’t leave it alone. The soundtrack is “Worry, worry, worry” from the Ray LaMontagne song, “Trouble”. Here’s the link.
DO YOU SOMETIMES FEEL LIKE THIS POOR, WORRIED LITTLE DOG?
More than 20 percent of us struggle with anxiety. On average, we spend about 300 minutes a day worrying, a condition linked with cardiac, emotional, and other health problems.
Worries tell us, “Watch out!” Sometimes, they rightly signal danger. But, what about those unfounded fears that sap our energy and lead to failure, discouragement, and limitation?
THE PROBLEM: OUR THINKING
I call such worries “whispered lies” because they’re mostly false, telling us the pain of our past will repeat itself. For example, “I can’t do this. I’ll fail!” “I don’t deserve love,” or “I can’t be happy if (fill in the blank) happens.”
So, our thinking is the problem, right? But, wait a minute! Our thinking helps us reach important goals: jobs, degrees, repairs, trips, and so on. We set a goal and, if we just try hard enough, we get everything we want, right?
Unfortunately, this linear approach doesn’t always work: Our hearts are broken, we don’t receive a hoped-for promotion, or a loved one is seriously ill. We’re shocked to realize how little control we have over our own lives–and the lives of our loved ones. But we keep trying, right?
We become like that little white dog: We imagine we can fix our troubles by worrying about them. Or, we try to deny them through partying, working long hours, sexual preoccupation, or drugs and/or alcohol.
But these desperate strategies don’t work. The worrying and negativity just multiply, and we become more miserable than before.
WHATS THE SOLUTION?
We can change our faulty thinking by using four life strategies: 1) get honest, 2) claim positive power, 3) make healthy choices, and 4) consistently use growth tools.
If we get honest with ourselves and take responsibility for our own worries, we begin to see that only something bigger than our fears can overcome them–a source of positive power. We might call it Buddha, Courage, the Divine Spark, God, Great Spirit, Awareness, True Self, Universal Intelligence, or any name that works for us.
Next, we choose a new life (perhaps through affirmations and vision boards) and use growth tools to dissolve our whispered lies (e.g. meditation, prayer, energy work, cognitive reprogramming).
We become expressions of peace (serenity to accept and wait), clarity (wisdom to know what to do and when) and connection (thriving, loving relationships)–no matter what happens in our lives.
To learn how these four life strategies can ease your own troubles, read my award-winning book, 50 Ways to Worry Less Now: Reject Negative Thinking to Find Peace, Clarity, and Connection (Amazon 4.7 stars) available here. (Audiobook due in September)
Gigi Langer holds a PhD from Stanford University and is the former “Queen of Worry.” She’s also an educator, a popular speaker, and a person in recovery who hasn’t had a drink or drug for over 33 years.