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‘Don’t worry!’

Updated: Sep 22, 2023



I’ve written many blogs, on many topics, but one subject which has scarcely had much airtime, is ironically the one that occupies the most of my thoughts.


That is…


Worrying.


My relationship with worrying is a long-term one, and like any enduring partnership, it’s had its ups…and downs.


Days when it's felt like a comforting constant, and plenty of others, when quite the opposite is true.


For the sake of this article, and my current mood, I’m choosing today to see the good in  my tendancy to fast forward in time (sometimes even backwards) and get lost in a world of imaginables.


Everyone always says the opposite, of course, and that the inner dialogue of worry is something to be silenced and squashed with platitudes of ‘it’ll be fine,’ ‘what will be, will be’ and worst of all, ‘don’t worry!’


Whilst all socially acceptable forms of counsel, the idea of stopping worrying completely - it seems counterintuitive to the equally well peddled advice that has been entrenched since school-dom. That is...


To be yourself.


How exactly to be oneself, whilst also trying to extricate a pivotal piece of the ‘self’ tapestry that has been woven in since the dawn of consciousness - it is a challenge indeed!


When researching as to what extent I should be worried about my worrying tendencies, and endeavour to change them, I stumbled across an article which said that worriers, in actual fact, embody some very positive characteristics.


These include, but are not limited to, ‘attention to detail, perspective, emotional expression, clear priorities, and an effective ability to learn from the past and plan for the future.’ (Source)


As an exercise in preparation, science says that catastrophising can lead to greater precaution-taking, which I appreciate could be a bad thing… but it must have some dividends, as well, surely?


Mitigating risk, for starters.


I am currently weighing these learnings up against the indisputable down-sides of chronic worrying, including anxiety, loneliness and lost-experiences.


I’m also marinating on the idea that worry, perhaps, is just an inescapable part of the parenting tapestry. An emotion bound so tightly with love that it is not possible to experience one without the other.


In the words of Liam Neesom in Taken, ‘telling a parent not to worry is like telling water not to be wet.’


Thinking about it, the parallel to a worst-case-scenario-coming-true themed movie… is pretty apt for this article.


I wonder, whether it was Liam’s innate worrying and ability to forecast the future in his mind’s eye, that gifted him, in part, with his famous and ‘particular’ set of baddie-catching skills?


I'm comforted by this prospect, and concede from it, that there is maybe valid justification for making at least some room for worry in the HGV that is the parenting psyche.


This attitude of acceptance is mirrored in the book ‘The Wisdom of Anxiety’, which stipulates that stopping berating oneself for carrying the weight of all worldly worries, can actually be more powerful for wellbeing than trying to stop the cogs at source.


Having tried and failed for decades to implement 'just stop worrying,' I can concede now, that my daily playbook will probably always resemble a badly dubbed version of one of the Final Destination movies. On some level, I get that that's not really ok, but then again....maybe it is!


Why?


Because worry is ultimately a hallmark of a vivid imagination, and without that… what would become of all the daily faculties that depend on this continuous stream of weird and *sometimes wonderful* visions?


The writing

The art

The mood-boarding

The sceptical yet meaningful attempts at 'manifesting'


They would all, I’ve no doubt, grind to a ceremonious halt, with far-reaching consequences for life satisfaction... and maybe quite ironically, happiness.


To this end, it's probably about time we stopped viewing worry as something to be exorcised... but rather something to be exercised, to better wellbeing effect.


As a starting point, I'm moving the old Bobby McFerrin lyrics with the times, and proposing that 'don't worry about worrying, be happy!' - it's got much more of a ring to it!


Secondly.... I'll be devouring this quote for breakfast, lunch and dinner, going forward.


‘The emotionally intelligent person knows that they will only ever be mentally healthy in a few areas and at certain moments, but is committed to fathoming their inadequacies and warning others of them in good time, with apology and charm’

Alain de Botton


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