Breaking the Worrying Habit: Scheduling time to worry

Anniversaries are tough, even for seemingly good things. They force you to reflect on the past and think about if you want to be where you currently are.

About a year ago I moved to a new city to take a new job in a different industry. This was a good thing. I wasn’t happy in my old job and needed a change. And the job I was taking was kind of my ‘dream job’ (if there is such a thing).

Fast-forward a year and the anniversary had me thinking (probably thinking too much, as I have a tendency to do). I’m glad I made the move, but when friends asked me if my new city is home now I have to say no…at least not yet. Could it become home? I don’t know.

worry21-233x300Basically my first year has been an incomplete grade. For some reason, this makes me worry. That’s stupid because life in general is one continuous incomplete grade. You’ll never have complete & perfect information, and things change all the time. Many times you just need time and patience.

Even though I know this, it’s hard to avoid getting sucked into my worrying habit. I fight it constantly. One thing I started to do recently is schedule time to worry in the future.

For my current situation I’ve picked a date in 2016 to assess if this city and job and company are right for me. It’s in my calendar with a reminder to pop up that date in case I forget.

It may seem silly but scheduling time to worry makes me feel better. I can’t control my environment, but I can at least mitigate how I respond to it. It shouldn’t be a big deal that I’m giving myself an incomplete grade right now. Worrying about it accomplishes nothing, especially since I shouldn’t take action now.

Scheduling time accomplishes two things:

Cools you down

I'm so excitedThe time is not always now to take action. Worrying wears you down mentally to the point that you can’t make a good decision.   Look what it did to Jessie Spano. She had a caffeine pill induced breakdown after worrying too much about Hot Sundae AND getting into college.

Keeps you honest

It’s easy to fall asleep on a tough decision that you don’t want to think about. Fortunately my trusty calendar reminder forces me to think about it in the future. It’s as annoying an alarm clock going off early in the morning, but it still forces me to wake up.

alarm-clocks-119032As a side note, if you’re the type of person to hit the snooze button this tactic will probably not be effective. It’s too easy to kick the can down the road again & again by re-scheduling time to think.

Fortunately, I don’t snooze through alarms. So I’m confident the reminder will get me to ruminate on current situation at a more appropriate time.

This gives me a sense of control of the situation that I didn’t have before. My problem is paradoxically both in my rearview mirror and far off in the horizon. In either case, I don’t need to worry about it now.rear-view-mirror

What say you? Do you have any problems that are better off dealt with later, not now?

As always, thanks for reading.

Don

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