Jonathan Hilton, a blogger I follow and really appreciate here, recently did a great post about worrying. What I found most helpful about that post were the numbers he quoted about worry.
Here were his Worry Mathematics: After subtracting (1) future-oriented worries about things that never happen, (2) past-oriented worries about things we can’t change, (3) needless worries about our health, and (4) petty miscellaneous worries, the post concluded that 92% of what we worry about is wasted energy.
92% of worry is needless, said Jonathan.
I’ve said, to people, that worry never does any good, but I certainly believe that 8% of time spent worrying is “legitimate” (involving financial and other survival issues). However, as Jonathan pointed out, worry is different from concern. As he wrote “Worrying has never fed a child or ended any trouble.”
In any case, I know that seeing such a low number, in Jonathan’s post — plus his specific dismissing of different types of worry — has stuck with me, in a helpful way. I’m doing an even better job, since I read his post, of letting go of worry (which is an old and well-practiced habit for me).
Here are some other things that are helping me let go of worry, these days:
- Having faith in my own process.
- Assuming the best, instead of the worst.
- Letting go of concern about what other people are thinking.
- Being more present in the moment.
My sense is, though, that I’ve probably written about all of the above, before. And I’m not sure how helpful such general, oft-cited statements might be, for you.
So I’d like to write a little about some specific improvements I’ve noticed lately — related to letting go of worry — in a particular area.
My mind seems to have an infinite capacity to lose track of objects.
That’s an old and familiar story, for me. My mother used to say that I would lose my head if it wasn’t attached.
However, there are many things that are NOT attached to me, and most of those I lose, regularly. These include my keys, my cell phone, directions to places I need to be NOW, sales receipts, the one ingredient that I just bought at the supermarket that I need for cooking, the nail or screw I need to put something together, that one piece of vital information I need for something incredibly time-sensitive and important, and so on and so forth.
And I lose things in such creative ways! I’ve oft stated that my brain seems to want to make my life more interesting, exciting, and challenging, misplacing necessary objects at exactly the wrong time. If something is really important, I tend to carry it around with me and then — BAM! — just when I’m ready to leave the house, it’s gone. Then, when I’m looking for it, it’s clear that I’ve hidden it, with clever and unmatched skill.
It’s like I’m the best magician possible, making things disappear, even when I think I’m paying close attention.
George Carlin, one of my Comedy Heroes, did a classic piece on Losing Things, which I first heard many years ago, and still quote:
THAT routine never gets old, I have to say. I just watched it again, and LLOLed (Literary Laughed Out Loud), the whole way through.
He was so great.
Anyway, I haven’t lost track of my point: Here’s how things have changed, lately, for me.
Now that I’m worrying less, being more mindful, and having more faith in myself and my capabilities, I’ve gotten a lot better at finding things.
I’m still losing these important things, mind you. But when the cell phone, keys, directions, and banana guacamole are gone, right when I need them most, I don’t berate myself. Instead, I accept, with forgiveness and humor, my human tendency to Do That Losing Thang. Then, my mind is clear from self-judgment and regret, and I can usually find what I lost, pretty quickly.
It’s like I’m accepting and even loving the quirky way my mind works. Which is wonderful. I’m also letting go of anxiety about being late (which losing things might worsen). And I’m having faith that the lost things are there, waiting to be found. (As my friend Eleanor said to me recently, when I described losing and finding my keys, “You knew they were still on the planet.”) And, even if things do seem to be lost forever, I’ve been realizing that I can survive without them.
As a result, I’ve been finding things much more quickly. And I’m on time, more frequently.
So, dear readers, I’m going to wrap up this post … to give myself time, if needed, to find my keys, cell phone, lunch, and my head — in whatever places I might hide them — before I leave for work.
Thanks to Jonathan Hilton, George Carlin, Eleanor, and you, for finding your way here today.