What to do with Worry?

As we have now reached January 2021 and month 11 of the pandemic I think we are all getting very weary of trying to remain resilient.  Despite the vaccine and the snowdrops pushing up through the soil, and the fact that we have had Christmas (well sort of), it is still really hard to keep going at times and remain positive!

Personally, I am relieved that my parents (in their 80’s) have had their vaccines but they still have to wait until April for the second dose and that feels a long way off.  Some of you will be in the same position, or a lot further down the list, before you will receive yours and it is worrying.  Others of you may be worried about having the vaccine at all.

So, I thought it might be useful to look at worrying and how we can help ourselves to worry less …

Firstly, there are two types of worries – SOLVABLE worries and FLOATING worries and it is the floating worries, the things that haven’t even happened yet, or things from the past, that take up the majority of our time and head space.  90% of our worries are floating worries and usually we cannot do a thing about them because they are out of our control.

Solvable worries (as the name suggests) are the 10%, and they are the worries that we can turn into a problem and hence begin to solve.  Try, if you can, to let go of the floating worries and attend to the 10% that you do have some control over.

Next, I like the acronym FEAR – Fake Evidence Appearing Real – It can ‘feel’ when we are worrying that we are doing something useful, when actually it is not helping very much at all.  For some of us our internal systems are working over-time which is when worry turns into anxiety and anxiety over a pro-longed period of time can be extremely debilitating.

So, just because something ‘feels’ important, it doesn’t necessarily mean there is anything to attend to.  This is because our feelings follow, and are linked to, our thoughts.  If our head is full of worrying or ‘floating’ thoughts, we begin to feel bad and then we may react and behave in relation to our feelings, rather than working out that the feeling is a direct result of a negative automatic thought.

So to reiterate … just because something ‘feels’ important it does not necessarily mean there is anything to attend to.

A word about NEGATIVITY BIAS,  this is when we tune into the difficult, worrying, scary stuff and tend to not really notice the good things.    For example, the dreaded school report … there might have been 5 good comments about our work and 1 negative comment and often it is the negative comment that we remember.  Or, at the end of the day, rather than being pleased with what we have achieved, we are disappointed or we may focus and worry about the things we didn’t manage to get done.   Right now we need to keep tuning in to the good stuff!

Finally, we all know that suffering and adversity is part of life, but knowing that does not make it easier to bear and with COVID there have been no quick fixes. We may sometimes feel that God is far away or even absent.  However, Jesus knew about suffering (unfairly and undeservedly) and there is some comfort in this for us.  He too has walked these painful, worrisome journeys and he is with us now and always.  This too will pass, and until it does we will keep praying and trusting in our faithful Lord and encouraging one another.

God Bless You,

Tracy (Brown)  – Pastoral Minister            January 2021