Worry Monsters

You know those Pom Wonderful TV commercials where a giant worry monster” complains about not being able to keep their human counterparts from leading healthier lifestyles? The monsters are the inner voices of anxiety. I get the hook, but I sure wish it would take just drinking some Pom to make my own personal worry monster go away.

I worry about everything.

I worry about saying the wrong thing, getting fired, being criticized, having reviews, and lots and lots of other things. Mostly I worry about things I don’t have any control over. I know I’m not alone in my anxiety.

We think we have more control over situations, but it’s not really true. However, we can control our personal responses and behaviors. How things turn out though and what others do or say is beyond our ability to control.

Insecurity is a result of fear. For me, most times that fear is pushed down and ignored. It’s a struggle. I haven’t had a panic attack in a long, long time. Be that as it may, I’ve done a few things to ease those creeping thoughts of fear and anxiety.

One way to remove the fear is by acknowledging just how often our fears come true, which is quite rare. Fear is just a what if scenario” and the odds are the majority of those situations just don’t come true. Plus, the ones that do follow that wrong path are seldom as worse as a creative imagination might visualize.

Another thing I’ve done lately is ease off social media and 24-hour news channels. There’s far too much news, both the real and fake” kind, which will automatically induce anxiety in me. Using Facebook and Twitter can trigger anger and anxiety even if you curate and cull it to the point of erasing much of the algorithmically-optimized crap. Curate your lists and friends” and you’ll feel less worried. Watch less television news and go for deep dives into news stories via magazines and newspapers instead of hot takes. Better yet, stop watching the news and delete social media altogether. Of course, I’m not there yet. I bet you aren’t either.

One thing I’m still not very good at is asking for reassurance constantly. It’s my way of easing my anxiety and worry. I look to my wife, mostly, to tell me everything is fine. It’s only a part time fix and my wife is way better than me at recognizing my seeking reassurance than me actually asking for it. She usually puts me in my place when I do this and doesn’t reinforce the pattern. I’m not sure why I need reassurance. Sometimes I think it’s a variation on the imposter syndrome” feeling.

When I get down to it, I’ve got enough problems in my present to worry too much about tomorrow’s imaginary problems. Of course, plan for the future but don’t hide in the corner worrying over what might happen. Worrying about tomorrow won’t make it better.

Make a plan. Be flexible. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Move forward.

And, apparently, drink Pom Wonderful.

May 16, 2019