Worry knot

Back in July we first talked about provisional living  and making choices.  At that time those concepts lead into a long talk about consumption and debt.

a hand drawn celtic knot in the roundLet’s spiral back to our beginning for a pass at the topic from a different angle.
There’s another powerful way that provisional living and avoiding choices haunt us and that is through worry.

Worry is an old word originally meaning ‘to strangle’ but those edges are now softened by time and use. We modern types resonate with the sharper ‘anxiety’ (maybe we prefer the strong sounding Latin root).  Worry strangles my day when it appears because it has a ravenous appetite for eating up my confidence, contentment and ability to make a decision. Maybe you have felt that.

Have you agonised over a decision, well beyond the rational weight or need of the implications? You probably have spent time chasing down all of the possible consequences of each permutation of action and attempted to double and triple guess what it most likely and how best to juggle the outcomes and payoffs. It can go so long you lose momentum to actually make the step, or the opportunity passes you by. Worse still, you can finally come to realise your health is suffering, you’ve become worried sick.

You’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in Australia and both the U.S. and the UK (I stopped looking after that, it was too depressing). That’s a lot of people with a knot in their guts over things that are on their mind.

Some of the things that connect our worry to the earlier discussions is to do with the addiction we have to comparisonitis. We lose touch with enough and drift into judging our situation against what we perceive others to have or to be. This outward focus of our energy and attention is draining, it blocks empathy and kindness (to ourselves as well as to others) and it is guaranteed to help us lose our way.

In worry we get lost in a maze. In comparing ourselves to others, we let go of our own thread and our path and step into a wilderness of subjective judgments based on guesses and hearsay. We do not know what is really going on for anyone else. We can’t know what battles they’re facing, what burdens they carry or what pain they’re hiding. It is too easy with social media to compare your own inner turmoil with the show reel other people promote.

When worry starts to get you into a knot, be kind to yourself and bring your attention back to your own reality. That’s not as easy as it sounds, but there are techniques that are easy to learn. Interestingly enough some of them correspond to spiritual practices and we’ll explore that terrain in the new year.

In the meantime, if you’re in Australia and you would like some help with your worries, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

How can I help?
Suggestions are welcome for blog topics for 2015. Comment here or email me directly.

Image source

3 thoughts on “Worry knot”

  1. Comparison is the thief of joy!
    I’ve always been anxious, from a very young age, and it is a fun bonus symptom for several of my lifelong health conditions. It’s always a bit of a struggle, an active process to stay in control. One thing that I have found really effective is believing in the law of diminishing returns. No, I won’t do 14 drafts of that document, the amount of work to get from draft 4 to draft 14 is nowhere near the improvement made. No, I won’t stress over buying the perfect laptop. I don’t know enough about computers to get the ‘right’ one, I’m just going to buy one I like within my budget. Etc. Once you look hard enough there are so many things in life where there is no right answer. I’ve given myself permission to say ‘near enough is good enough’ in these situations and I am feeling better because of it!
    The other really effective thing? Ice cream!

    1. That’s brilliant! Thank you for sharing ‘near enough is good enough’ – that alone can keep one’s world in balance. Ice-cream and also chocolate are used in my house ‘under Dr’s orders’ in certain circumstances too!

  2. I love that! Thanks for sharing, Adelle and Janine (of course). Perfectionism is another contributor to worry – it’s so easy to get caught up in having to have just the right solution to a given problem, when it reality there are probably multiple solutions that will work equally well. Near enough really is good enough!

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