Friday, November 25, 2011

Step 26 - Don't worry, be happy!

Day 26 of the National Blog Post Month challenge where I’m writing a blog post every day along the theme of 30 Steps to Happiness and Contentment. 
I have spent much of my adult life worrying. I worry about everything and anything, our children, the dogs, the business, the house, my family, my friends, the world... But, I'm starting realise (ok it's taken me nearly 45 years, I'm a slow learner) that worrying is pointless.  What purpose does it serve?  Lying awake worrying in the middle of the night does nothing except cause you stress and make you tired.

It's difficult to stop worrying if you are prone to it - believe me, I know!  Earlier this year, we were going through a critical stage financially.  I would lay awake night after night worrying about how we were going to manage.  We were working as hard as we could, but it still didn't seem to be enough.  I couldn't see a way out.  But lying awake for hours worrying was not helping and I was making myself ill.

We had a couple of days away on our own, without the kids, and I had a sudden dawning that I had to take control of my life as it was getting out of hand.  I was really unhappy with myself and my situation and I decided to do something about it.  I took control of my weight problem (Losing weight in France) and I took control of my problem with worrying.  I couldn't do any more to change the situation we were in, but I could change how I was dealing with it.

The only way I could think of to stop me worrying so much was to focus my attention on something else.  Give my mind a challenge to occupy it.  I needed a focus, something I enjoyed and so I decided to start writing a book about our experiences of moving to France.  It's somthing I've always wanted to do.  I didn't know if I could do it, I'd never written like that before, but I really wanted to try.

It turned out to be my saviour as I loved it.  I enjoyed writing and it gave me something positive to focus on.  It also helped me to look back over the last 8 years and realise just how much we've achieved and done.  As I worked my way through the chapters of our lives, memories started flooding back of the hight lights, the funny moments, all sorts of great things we've achieved and experienced.  

So, by giving my mind something more positive to focus it's attention on I forgot about our worries (not completely of course) but gradually things started improving.  Our hard work was starting to pay off and I feel as though we've turned a corner now. Maybe this would have happened anyway, but at least I didn't waste another year of my life worrying myself stupid about it.  I came to the realisation that worrying was doing nothing to help the situation.  We were doing all we can and if the worse came to the worse and we got to the point where we couldn't continue, then so be it.  We couldn't do any more.  Somehow this acceptance of the situation helped.  I think by channeling my thoughts on something positive rather than worrying made me able to spend my time at work more productively and positively.  I was starting to feel better about myself from losing weight and also I was satisfying my creative side with the writing, so rather than have the depressive air of doom and gloom I had previously, I was feeling more confident, satisfied and happy.  I feel this was enough to help me recognise and act positively to the opportunities that arose to help us through this difficult time.  Maybe those opportunities had been there all along but I was too paralised by fear and worry to notice them before.
The morale of this story is don't waste your time worrying, find something else to focus your mind on be it writing, painting or perhaps studying something you're really interested in.  Reading's good, but it's not enough to really occupy your mind fully, it needs to be something that you can loose yourself in.  It's not about ignoring your problems, it's about confronting the negative tendances of worrying and turning them into something positive. If you stop worrying, your problems may not disappear, but your perspective on them changes which can give you the strength to deal with them.   Don't worry, take control and be happy!

You may be interested to read the other posts in this series:
Step 30 - The Key to Happiness and Contentment
Step 29 -You are the master of your own destiny
Step 28 - Don't give up on a good relationship
Step 27 - Don't Judge , Live and let live
Step 26 - Don't Worry, by happy
Step 25 - Never give up
Step 24 - Get by with a little help from your friends
Step 23 - Go with the Flow
Step 22 - Enjoy the moment
Step 21 - Love what you do
Step 20 - Forgive and Forget
Step 19 - Unconditional giving
Step 18 - Smile and the world smiles with you
Step 17 - Work to live, don't live to work
Step 16 - Surround yourself with Positive People
Step 15 - Always look on the bright side of life
Step 14 - Where there's a will there's a way
Step 13 - Silence is Golden
Step 12 - Feed your Soul
Step 11 - Follow your Dreams
Step 10 - Use your time wisely
Step 9 - Don't be too hard on yourself
Step 8 - Consider what you value most
Step 7 - Find time for Yourself
Step 6 - Make time for Family and Friends
Step 5 - Don't take yourself too Seriously
Step 4 - Feel the Fear and do it Anyway
Step 3 - Love what you Hate
Step 2 - There's no such word as CAN''T
Step 1 - Find the Best in Every Day


  1. Can I come and live with you?

    I'll make beds. I'll dig the garden. I'll keep chickens!!!

    You don't even have to pay me :)

  2. My husband and I went through a time or two of extreme worry. Well, probably more me than him, but one time in particular I was worrying so much that I literally couldn't sleep anymore. I would have to get up and go into another room and turn on the television just to occupy my mind for awhile. That was my breaking point. And my husband's for that matter, because it took that one time of me being in another room for him to realize that we had to do something about our situation fast because of how it was finally affecting me. We put our minds to our new goals and things started laying in place and fixing themselves. It's amazing what your mind can do if you use it in a positive manner. You are so right that worrying does nothing for you but bad stuff. Enjoyed your post! Found you via NaBloPoMo. :)

  3. Ha ha Sarah, yes come and live with me, but you know I've got 14 beds to change and 2 hectares of land to dig (no chickens anymore sadly, no time to look after them) :)

    Thanks so much for sharing that Taylor. Worrying really is a big problem for many people and you're right it's amazing what you can do if you use your mind in a positive manner. Glad to hear it's all working out for you now :)

  4. Sleepless nights and juggling money (or the lack thereof) very relatable - thanks for sharing.

  5. I'm the opposite - I live in denial with my head firmly in the sand. Doesn't solve anything but at least I get a good night's sleep - unitl things are really on the brink of disaster.

  6. You're welcome Shambolicliving - I guess it's something many people can relate to.

    As you say MS, at least you get a good nights sleep! :)