I believe males and females worry in different ways. Females are a bit more transparent, usually verbalizing their worry or somehow acting out. Men or boys tend to internalize worry, experiencing their anxiety in a quieter fashion. Either way, worry can be a depleting, useless anchor.
I always thought that if I worried about something, I had my eye on it so that it couldn’t creep up on me. I would worry about my performance at work. I would worry about getting a strange superbug that was just on the news. I would worry about an accident while flying. I had it in my mind that if I kept those things front and center, I would be best prepared if they happened. I wouldn’t make the mistake of being naïve to the dangers in the world. I was on it.
What I didn’t realize was how much energy and anxiety I was wasting on worrying about unlikely events. Today, the media (social and not) feeds on fear. If it’s an online headline, they want to make you click on the article so that they can make more advertising money. If they get your attention, their ratings go up.
Here is an example of a headline: “This Common Kitchen Utensil Almost Killed This Ohio Man.” It panics you. Holy smokes! I need to read this! If I don’t, I could be in danger, and it’s my own fault if I’m not aware! A more truthful headline would have been “Ohio Man Cut Himself in the Kitchen by Accident.” However, would you have read that article?
Be aware of these tactics. Before social media and the ratings wars, information was shared only if it was important to your life. An Ohio man cutting his finger is not newsworthy, but a twisted version of the story can seem scary enough to pull you in.
My neighbor is a wise eighty-eight-year-old woman born in the Czech Republic. She’s vibrant, strong, and positive. One morning, I asked her if she worried about all the violence and shootings on the news lately.
She looked at me as if I had three heads. “Why would I do that? Look, I’m eighty-eight. I have seen so much, but if I had worried about whether or not those things would happen, I would have wasted years of my life. No, I don’t worry.”
Worry is such a wasteful act. In fact, it’s worse than that. The more time you spend thinking about something (failing at your job or getting cancer), the more your tricky brain begins to seduce you, pulling you in. Soon, your mind is fixated on anxiety; it can’t distinguish fact from fiction. Some level of worry is productive, but most is not. Try these three tips for managing your worries.
1. Problem solve; don’t worry.
If there’s a true problem ahead of you, figure it out and take action. If no action can be taken, worry is wasteful.
2. Delay or reschedule your worry time.
Write it down and tell yourself you’ll do it later. This is effective because you’re acknowledging your worry and putting it aside. Soon it will dissipate. This also gives you an opportunity to review what you wrote down each week. When you reflect back, you may begin to see a wasteful pattern of worrying about things that never occurred.
3. Use the talk-to-someone test.
If you’re hesitant to talk your worry through with a confidant, maybe it’s because you realize it’s wasteful.
You've Got This: Imagine your ninety-year-old self. Now add up all the months and years you spent on useless worries throughout your life.
How much time did you waste?
Dina Mauro has worked in the technology industry for over twenty-five years, twenty with one of the largest IT companies in the world. Through her love for animals, Dina began rescuing dogs, volunteering, and, ultimately, writing.
Dina is the author of A Dose of Tia: How a Woman and Her Rescued Dog Embraced Life Through Volunteering – and How You Can, Too. Initially, as a personal, heartfelt gift to her sons, but later published for the public, Dina went on to pen You’ve Got This! The Grad’s Guide to the Big, Rich, Magnificent Life You Deserve.
She also volunteers at Denver Pet Partners, Swedish Medical Center, and Children’s Hospital Colorado, along with her three sons.
Dina lives in Denver with her husband, Bob, and their three sons, Owen, Ethan, and Aiden.
ABOUT YOU'VE GOT THIS!
As a parent, author Dina Mauro was so hyper-focused on competing and comparing her children to other children that she almost lost sight of what they required to thrive. She realized that when they thrive, everything in their lives falls abundantly into place.
You’ve Got This! The Grad’s Guide to the Big, Rich, Magnificent Life You Deserve steers the reader through critical “markers” along life’s way: improving oneself, conquering obstacles, achieving goals, and cultivating relationships. Other stops on the journey include heading off to college, entering the work world, making decisions, managing technology, speaking in public, and many more.
You’ve Got This! is a long-overdue guidebook that illuminates forty-seven achievable strategies and real-world advice for not just living—but thriving! Now grads have the roadmap for facing challenges that left untouched can become big distractions to an exceptional life.