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News - Final Word
Monday, 20 May 2019 10:00
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Most of us worry. Some of us occasionally worry excessively. Others do it habitually. But, what if I’m to tell you that the ‘talent’ you apply to worry with is exactly the same one you can use to stop worrying?

Madisyn Taylor says that for worry to exist, we have to imagine that something bad might happen. The focus is on ‘imagine’. It hasn’t happened yet and it might never happen, so this bad thing is by definition a fantasy.

Madisyn uses the example of loved ones driving home in bad weather. There is nothing you can do to guarantee their safety, but you keep worrying because in a way your worry is an attempt to feel useful and in control.

Still, making a bad picture in your head really isn’t helping anyone – least of all yourself. Why not rather use the same energy to make a good picture? Madisyn says that just as worry uses the imagination, so does the antidote to worry.

Next time you find that you are worrying, imagine the best result instead of anticipating the worst outcome. Visualize your loved ones’ path bathed in white light and clearly see their safe arrival in your mind’s eye.

Once we understand that we worry because we feel as if we’re not in control, then we can take a closer look at why we need to feel in control all the time. If you’re not sure whether or not you’re too controlling, take a look at the ten signs of a control freak, provided by writer Raven Ishak:

Delegation: You refuse to delegate, probably because you believe that no one can do a job as well as you can.

Criticism: If you’re constantly criticizing the people you care about, whether it’s about their food choices or the clothes they wear, well then you probably rank right up there with the best of control freaks.

Schedule: Everything has to be on your schedule and you go slightly nuts over the slightest change in your plans.

Perfectionism: The reach for perfection is not only driven by a desire to do well and a fear of failure, but also by a huge concern about what others think of you.

Moody: When things don’t go the way you plan, you suffer from chronic frustration, which doesn’t exactly make you a happy camper.

Expectations: Loretta Graziano Breuning says that your brain is designed to reward you with the good feeling of dopamine when you get a step closer to something that meets your needs. However, cortisol (the stress hormone) is released when your expectations are disappointed. You can avoid the stress by letting go of your expectations, but then you don’t get the dopamine and you don’t step towards meeting your needs. Control freaks find this very difficult.

Judging: Judging others is actually a defence against feeling judged. Often judgers are hyper critical of themselves and, says therapist dr Paul Hokemeyer, they were probably judged at some point in their lives by some significant person.

Hurt: Somewhere, typically very early in life, you were hurt emotionally or suffered physical injury. This hurt, says dr Paul, got embedded in your central nervous system where it causes a need to control your life.

Money: Many couples try to control each other through money. They make their partners justify their expenses and criticize them for spending on things that they deemed unworthy of expenditure, says dr Paul.

Micromanage: If you’re the kind of person who needs to know what everyone is doing at all times, you just might be a control freak.

You see, girlfriend, demanding constant certainty from yourself and others can be oh so tiresome. An inability to let go of control basically comes down to fear. And you know that fear causes you to think in warped ways where you excel in continual catastrophising, as in the example of a loved one driving home in bad weather.

The only thing we ever fully control is our response to a situation. By using your very active imagination to change the bad pictures in your head to good ones, you can generate serenity instead of disquiet within yourself.

Isn’t this precisely what Reinhold Niebuhr’s famous serenity prayer focuses on? To be granted the serenity to accept the things you cannot change, courage to change the things you can and wisdom to know the difference.
Vive la différence!

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