I'm Worrying Again
BY: T. Franklin Murphy |May 2018
Enough Concern to Plan
We must manage worry to push action without burdening with overwhelm. Concern for the future is important but easily can become all consuming.
Somewhere between carefree living and ceaseless worry we discover thoughtful preparation. Through properly directed planning, we create better futures. The gift of thought, although essential to weave our way through complexity, is packaged with curses. Thoughts sometimes haunt the present, cajoling needless pasts and entertaining disastrous futures. The ability to plan easily slips from productive to bothersome worry, hindering rather than helping.
We can tame disrupting worry but never dispose of it. Some thought directed towards the future motivates necessary preparations. I discovered success through focused attention to underlying thought processes. Simple awareness to our thoughts provides space—a separation between action and disrupting thoughts. Instead of dragged into an emotional storm, we observe the internal process as a third person, curiously watching the flow of thought through a biological organ—the brain. By stepping away from burdensome thoughts—even just briefly—we loosen the emotional pull. This space allows for curiosity. We observe with compassion, exploring the human mind at work.
Redirecting thoughts from reactionary to a curious discovery eases the force of a thought, interrupting the chain of reaction, and allowing for gentle redirections. Put softer words to observations of worrying thoughts, "Hmmmm, I am worrying again. How interesting that my mind does this. I wonder what started this bout of worrying." Our words create a better relationship with the wanderings of our mind. By creating space, we shift attention from the object of worry to an examination of the thought process leading to worry. The emotions settle, and we rebalance.
Creating space restores balance and allows for more constructive thinking and planning.