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Day 4 Behavior Exchange Challenge ~ Worrying about...

Day 4 Behavior Exchange Challenge ~ Worrying about the Future


When it comes to worry, we’re both pretty strong contenders in that category.  I think the older we’ve gotten the more worrisome we’ve gotten.  It seems the stakes are higher.  There’s so much more to lose if things go sideways.

When you’re running the “show”, whether it’s at the office or at home, there’s a lot riding on the many decisions we make everyday.  “Did I forget something”?  “Did I make the right decision when deciding to stay home”?  The future…our happiness, depends on the decisions we’re making now.

On Tiny BuddhaLori Deschene has some advice that makes sense;

Every time we use the present to stress about the future, we’re choosing to sacrifice joy today to mourn joy we might not have tomorrow. It may seem like we’re creating solutions or somehow protecting ourselves from pain, but in all reality, we’re just causing ourselves more of it.

Perhaps the key is to challenge that instinctive sense of fear we feel when we start thinking about uncertainty. When I look back at the most fulfilling parts of my life, I realize most of them took me completely by surprise.

I may not have gotten everything I wanted, but I’ve wanted what I’ve gotten more than often enough to compensate. The unknown may have provided some heartache, but it’s also provided adventure and excitement.

For every time I’ve felt disappointed, there’s been another moment when I’ve felt a sense of wonder. Those are the moments we live for—when all of a sudden we see the world through new eyes in a way we could never have known to predict.

Uncertainty is the cost of that deeply satisfying, exhilarating, spontaneous sense of awe.

It would be easy to say that mindfulness is the answer to worrying. If you’re truly immersed in the present moment, there wouldn’t be any reason to fixate on what might be coming. But I suspect that it’s inevitable we’ll do that from time to time. We’re only human, after all.

Maybe a better suggestion is a combination of being in the moment and trusting in the one to follow.

We can’t always control what it will look like, but we can know that more often than not, it will lead to something good if we’re open to it. When it doesn’t, we’ll get through it—and faster if we haven’t already overwhelmed ourselves with what-ifs and worst-case scenarios.

On the other side of worry, there’s trust. We can’t always trust in specifics, but we can trust in ourselves.

If you’re a Beatles fan, there’s a John Lennon song, “Beautiful Boy” that says…

Before you cross the street,
Take my hand,
Life is just what happens to you,
While your busy making other plans,

John Lennon!  You’re brilliant!  What an important message.  When we worry about the future and what it will bring, life happens to us and we’ve just missed it.  Putting worry in it’s place is crucial for staying “in the moment”.

As the Dali Lama says,

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”
― Dalai Lama XIV

Lee Aldrich



Lee’s Challenges

Oh, lordy…this is me. To a tee. I’ve worried my whole life. A lot of it comes to me in the dark of the night, when nobody is awake but the mind that is trying to drive me crazy, twist me in knots, and keep me from sleeping. As I have said on my resolutions sheet, I work in an industry that looks to the future and deadlines are critical. I don’t know if is the chicken or the egg thing: not sure if I was already a future worrier and this career was a fit, or the career was a fit and I learned to future worry because of it. In any case, this is one of my HUGE issues that I’m working on like the devil to alleviate.

I have found that if I verbalize what is bothering me, it takes the worries from my cob-webbed brain and exposes them to the light. And usually I realize that: I can’t control the future; the future is ever changing; the world probably isn’t going to stop spinning; I have made a mountain out of a mole hill. (That is another issue!) I’m working at refocussing my thoughts and really trying my damndest to stay focussed on the present. And if you catch me slacking….please call bullshit!

Barbara Joy



Barbara’s Challenges

Oh my, how I worry.  Both at home and in my career, planning was essential.  Not only am I a planner, but a researcher.   Unless I’m guided by a plan, I worry about where we’re going….and since I don’t know where we’re going, the worries about how we’re going to get there never go away.  I am married to someone who is not a planner…he’s more of a “let’s just do this” type of guy.  The career part of my life is over…that’s where I had full control of the planning need in my life.  My husband and I have entered a new phase of our lives…after 9 out of state moves in the last 10 years, I think all of that  is over.  I believe we are in the location that could be our retirement location….Atlanta!  I am now focused on finding something fulfilling at home (thanks for reading….because this is it!).  The kids are well established…so they haven’t needed me in years and I find myself a little panicked due to a lack of plan for our “next phase” at home.  Previously, there was never any time for a “home” plan…I was too busy with my own career and the day to day plans necessary to get kids from point A to point B.

So now I know that all my worries are easily avoided with a plan.  Now,I need to reconcile my style (I call it a style…it’s really a need….perhaps baggage, but that’s another day) with my husband’s “let’s just do this” approach to life.  My new resolutions are to realize planning is MY thing…so I’ll take on my husband’s approach….”I’ll just do this” and spend 15 minutes every morning (and I have a very lovely quiet morning now) making, tracking or revising plans that will preempt all my worry time.  My husband can have first right of refusal (sometimes), and I think I’m much happier already!


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  1. Sue Shoemaker

    5 July

    When I was a young woman…probably in my 20’s…my mother told me one day that she prayed every time my brothers or I got into a car to drive somewhere rather than just worry about our safety. She died in 1984, two months shy of her 62nd birthday. She had brain cancer and lung cancer. One evening she got a sharp pain in her head and she knew she needed to get to the hospital. When Dad asked her what could he do for her…her last words were, “All you can do is pray.” She went into a coma and died peacefully about three days later.

    A couple of years later I decided to read the whole Bible for the first time from cover to cover. When I reached Pillippians 4:6…I found Mom’s words coming back to me:

    Philippians 4:6
    New Living Translation (NLT)
    6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

    After that time, whenever I found myself worrying about anything, I would immediately take that concern and turn it into a prayer. I would ask for safety, guidance, peace…whatever I believed I needed at that moment. By praying instead of worrying, I felt like I was accomplishing something that was positive.

    Don’t worry about anything…but pray about everything! It’s worked for me…maybe it will work for you too! 🙂

    • Barbara Coleman

      5 July

      Sue, your faith has been good to you. Having a tool like that in your arsenal is invaluable! I think trust may play a big role in alleviating worry, and I’m still working on that too.

    • Lee

      6 July

      Sue – I’m a big proponent of prayer. You have to talk/ask for what you need and want in life. Talking to Godis no different. Thank you for your comment!

  2. I finally came to realize that worrying about tomorrow does not resolve anything, but certainly does take away from living in the present day. I want to embrace the joy of each day, no matter how small it may be.

    What I’ve not been good at is allowing worry to take over my sleep – sometimes interrupting my sleep. Listening to self hypnosis or meditation recordings at such times seems to be my savior. Hopefully I will become adept enough to “self-administer” at some point 🙂
    Workin’ on it 🙂

    • Lee

      6 July

      Julie – one of my struggles is to live in the moment since worry has to do with things that have yet to happen and may never happen. Our minds conjure all sorts of things and trick us into believing they are or may be real – especially when it comes to future worry.

      I’m finding that when I wake up in the middle of the night to “crazy brain” if I do a few breathing exercises it helps clear out the fuddled mess. The more I practice, the less issues I’m having at night. Lets hope We’re both on the road to recovery! ; )

      Thank your for your comments!

      • Barbara Coleman

        6 July

        I have an imaginary therapist I visit in my sleepless nights…I’ve uncovered all sorts of sh*t I didn’t know about myself. That may fall under the title of “if you want something to worry about, I’ll give you something”!

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