Try Not to Worry About It

Seriously? Is worry something you can try not to do? Really?

I certainly have a lot to worry about – since my husband left I know that we probably can’t continue to run our business together, I’ll probably have to sell the house, and there will be less money around during my retirement than I’d expected.

And what exactly are we doing when we worry about something? I seem to ask myself a lot of ‘what if’ questions. If the answer to the question is obvious, then there’s nothing to worry about. A worry is a ‘What if…?’ question without an obvious answer. Is that a good explanation of worrying?

Or is it more to do with the fear of the unknown – we worry about test results, interviews, people who are ill. Even bad news can be better than not knowing.

Or do we worry when we don’t have control over the situation. Things go wrong, it’s not our fault, but we get the blame anyway. We can spend a lot of time worrying about what will happen next if we’re not in control.

I don’t know. I think I worry about unknown situations more than anything else.

Maybe I’m too laid back – a lot of things don’t worry me. When money was really tight last year, before I got a job and another job, one of my thoughts was ‘What if I can’t afford a holiday?’ But the answer seemed obvious – I just won’t have a holiday. Problem solved. And therefore not something to worry about. And I didn’t have a holiday last year – but as soon as I was able to, I started saving for one this year.

But if there’s an answer to the ‘What if?’ question, then thinking about it isn’t really worrying, it’s just common or garden problem-solving, isn’t it? And sometimes it’s wise to only cross our bridges when we come to them – there’s certainly no point in going looking for bridges to cross.

My thoughts, in the early days just after he’d left, went something like this –

  • What if I’m no longer getting an income from the business?? Answer – you’ll have to get a job.

  • What if I can’t get a job?? Life will be difficult, so give yourself the best possible chance of getting a job – register with agencies, take up the offer of interview coaching, have someone look over your CV, do panic.

  • What if I still can’t get a job?? Life will be difficult and you will feel demoralised, so start to look at other ways of making money – take in a lodger.

  • What if I don’t have any money coming in at all?? Well – you do still have some money coming in, for a while, so get a grip. But if push comes to shove you’ll have to sell the house, down-size, and start claiming benefits.

Yes, there was lots of problem-solving going on – but was I worrying? Yes – until I found a solution, a plan, a way forward.

Many years ago, when I was working in Ireland, a colleague wanted to pin down where I was ‘from’. I’ve moved around a lot and I don’t think of myself as being ‘from’ anywhere. But he couldn’t understand this – the sense of place is very strong for Irish people. So he reframed the question – ‘Where’s home?’ he asked. ‘Here. I live here’, I replied. That wasn’t the answer he wanted, so he tried again. ‘No, I mean, where do you go back to when you have a problem?’ He assumed I would go back to my parents’ – but they don’t live in the place they’re ‘from’, so that still wouldn’t have answered his question. And besides, that’s not what I would do. ‘Nowhere’, I said, ‘I stay where I am, and I sort it out’.

And I think that’s what I generally do if I have a problem – I stay where I am and I sort it out.

I try not to worry.

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. evasundene says:

    I like your attitude. Problems are in fact blessings in disguise if you can keep your cool, and take it as a challenge to find solutions. When you have passed the traumatic period and moved on, you wonder why you worried. I write a lot about lifestyle and quality of life for “grown-up” women. Take a peek at Good luck with you blog….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree – luckily I enjoy a challenge!! I’ve just had a look at your blog – you’re an inspiration!!


  2. anglosvizzera says:

    I suppose ‘worry’ is on some kind of scale…if you were down to your last pennies, no money to pay rent etc, then it becomes more serious – no house to sell, needing to get work but maybe having children to care for, so will the work pay for the child care etc. There is a point where it becomes serious, I suppose. Many of us haven’t got to that point, mercifully, but there are some who have. People who have fled their country because of personal safety and that of their families, maybe their homes have been destroyed by “an Act of God” of some sort, or even in our own country, “Do I feed the children, pay for the electricity for heating” or what? I guess unless we’ve actually reached that kind of rock bottom we can never empathise with those who have. It’s all a matter of perspective, where you are on the scale…


  3. I’m really trying to get at the impossibility of telling someone to ‘try not to worry’ – you either worry or you don’t, but it’s not within your control. And I certainly wouldn’t compare myself to people with those kinds of problems.


  4. Susan Angela says:

    Worry doesn’t change the outcome of anything its just the mind telling a story, we either take off with the mind and believe that story future-casting, or we tell ourselves, oh there is my old friend “worry” cropping up again, hello, and let it go. These are the lessons I have learned from 8 years with a psychiatrist that specializes in Mindfullness Based Cognitive Therapy created by Jon-Kabut Zinn. It has worked wonders for me. I would wake up worrying and go to sleep worrying, now I have let it all go because worrying is a waste of time I have come to realize. Richard Hawkins also has a philosophy that if you worry you will always find a reason to worry, if you are angry a reason to be angry, jealous, etc. In life I have observed this is true. My husband fell in love with his massage therapist on my benefit package from work and I found myself suddenly single after 30 years at 60. Oh what a ride its been.


    1. That is so true. But I think worry can help if it prompts us to think ‘OK, I’m worrying about XYZ – so what am I going to do about it?’ If it results in some sort of plan of action (even if the ‘plan’ is ‘There’s nothing I can do about it’), then that’s a good thing. So sorry to hear about your situation – did it happen recently? Or is that why you were having the therapy? You sound like you’re in a good place now. xx


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