I worry. A lot. In fact, if they were giving out awards for Champion Worrier, I would be piling up the trophies. I know worry is non-productive. I know that worry never solved anything. I know that worry is injurious to the immune system. I know that most things we worry about never come to pass. I know (intellectually) that worry can’t keep bad things from happening. But I keep worrying, nevertheless.
My propensity for ruminating on the disastrous is not helped by the media. Good news is, of course, no news. I am attracted to all news Boomer. But not a day goes by when I am not assaulted with headlines like “Will Boomers Outlive Their Money?” “Why Last Year’s ‘Cures’ Lead to This Year’s Crises.” “Older and Unemployed? Who Will Really Feed You, When You’re Sixty-Four?” “When Boomers are Rejected by their Adult Children,” “Are You Too Busy to Tackle Your Bucket List?” “Are You Really Living In the Best Place for YOU?” “ What Medical Procedures Will Boomers Need Before They Are Seventy?” Just typing this list almost makes me break out in hives. Not to mention that there is abundant bad news of local, regional, national and international scope!
So much to worry about and, apparently, so little time.
I find that worry is like an infection. It starts with a prickle, a feeling of dis-ease, a cramp in the gut and before you know it, the worry cells have multiplied and are taking over the brain, the heart and the soul until you can’t think a coherent thought, or do much of anything. So what’s a sixty-something to do?
I draw some comfort from the analysis of more than 650,000 Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index Interviews that shows that “worry is a much more common emotion among young and middle-aged Americans than among seniors.” Only a quarter of those in their late sixties reported that they “worried a lot of the day yesterday.” So help may be on the way.
While I don’t have a cure for worryitis (or agita), I do have some tools (borrowed) that help. Many of them come from The Worrywart’s Companion by Dr. Beverly Potter
*Take a deep breath
*Relax your muscles
*Take a walk
*Smile and laugh
*Say a little prayer
*Change Shoulds to Preferences
*Count worry beads
*Take a warm bath
*Imagine a Happy Ending
*Joke about the worry
*Count your blessings
*Practice under-reacting (This is no big deal; it’s happened before, etc.)
*Scarlet O’Hara technique: Oh, I can’t think about this now! I’ll go crazy if I do! I’ll think about it tomorrow….. After all… tomorrow is another day!
*Read some inspirational quotes, i.e,Do not anticipate trouble, or worry about what may never happen. Keep to the sunlight. -Benjamin Franklin