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I’m a worrier. Are you?

lake siskiyou

Looking back, I understand why my mom encouraged me to lighten up and have fun; especially as a kid and teenager. I had a tendency to worry about everything, from my body-weight to my grades to everything in-between.

And, I still worry. I worry about money, my little business, my family and more. I’m a worrier and I don’t think that part of my personality will magically disappear. To ease my worries, I use simple strategies to keep things in perspective including:

Spending time outside, walking, taking photos and living in the present tense is the best way to keep my worries in check. For instance, last weekend I took a solo trip to Castle Lake and Lake Siskiyou. I spent the afternoon walking, taking photos and in complete awe of the fall colors. The leaves were a million shades of fall and the scenery was surreal.

Giving my brain downtime and projecting my focus outward is the best way to ease my worrying mind.

How do you manage your worries? Share your tips in the comments section.

Be well,

P.S. My photography e-course, Everyday Magic: How to Capture Creative Images with Your Camera, is available for self-study! Now you can go at your own pace and learn when and where you want. For additional details, read the course description.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Karen October 23, 2013, 10:35 am

    Great article! I used to worry a lot, not about a lot of things, but when I’d worry I would be REALLY worried. It came to the point where I’d get physically ill pretty fast so I had to learn how to tone down my inner hysterics. Over the years I’ve become pretty good and meditating, it takes me seconds to “get in the zone” now and I’ve started yoga a couple of weeks ago – but that’s more for taking care of the neck muscles that get all tense, from the worry…

    I will definitely add walking and writing to my list though – I usually don’t like to write when I’m worried but it’s worth a try. And soon it will be winter so walking in the rain should be fun 🙂

  • Ashley Collins October 23, 2013, 10:37 am

    Love your ways of managing worry! I feel like my list would be very similar… Except I don’t think I actually do those things in the moment. I will really reflect on your list the next time I feel myself experiencing worry. Thank you for this post!

  • Heather October 23, 2013, 10:48 am

    Holy mole I’m a worrier. It’s a big part of my personality. If life gets too serene, I invent things to worry about. I have found that my anxiety is often excess energy that needs an outlet. If I keep myself busy or I have a lot of projects going, I worry less. If I don’t find healthy ways to burn that energy, it comes out in other twisted ways, usually as anxiety and worry. I seriously have woken up in the middle of the night thinking “Gah! I need to floss more often!”

  • Jill Salahub October 23, 2013, 10:50 am

    Practice — which means both specific processes that help me (writing, meditation, yoga, and dog — that last one relates to showing up for someone no matter what and without an agenda, but also miles and miles of walking the beautiful earth, together alone) and simply continuing to come back to the effort, again and again.

  • Sandra Pawula October 23, 2013, 11:04 am

    Hi Tammy, I think it’s so smart that you’ve come to accept your tendencies and find ways to work around them. Due to genetics, I’m more prone to stress and worry than the average person. I agree with you wholeheartedly. staying in the present moment is an excellent remedy. I also value meditation for this purpose. Getting away makes so much sense and I think we all need to have more of these mini-vacations you speak of.

  • Carolina R. October 23, 2013, 11:11 am

    I’m very much like you and a big worrier. I am kind of an adrenaline junky, so for me working out is a huge worry reliever.

  • Rebecca October 23, 2013, 11:14 am

    I do not really handle my worries instead I usually spend a sleepless night or however long until the issue that I am worrying about is resolved. It is not the best way to deal with any worries I admit and wish i had a better way to deal with them. Since my last worry was about moving and we have not moved in awhile I am doing better with other worries by getting out in nature, taking a walk or just pushing myself when i do yoga. They seem to help me the most. Even having a good tickle fight with my daughter seems to help as well.

  • Sunny October 23, 2013, 1:23 pm

    Very similar ways to you…including reading blogs such as yours for additional insights 🙂 I find exercise helps, talking to close friends even if that’s through Facebook messaging, and now that it’s getting to be dark in the evenings and I’m inside more I love lighting candles when my little ones aren’t going to knock them over. I love the light (usually turn off other lights and read on my Kindle) and the scents!

  • Janet Jensen October 23, 2013, 3:29 pm

    I have been a life long worrier. It is something that I have been working on NOT doing. Worrying sucks the joy out of life. I have wasted a lot of time and energy worrying. So I try to shake it off and NOT do it. After you worry about something for a day or a week, what becomes of that? Usually nothing. It’s a mind game that you don’t have to play.

    Shake it off, Smile and just live.

    Best to you. Janet

  • Elizabeth October 23, 2013, 3:47 pm

    I’m a worrier. Lately, I’ve had quite a few serious reasons to drive myself to an early death fretting and stewing. The only things that work to stop my worrying are reading, exercise, and sleep. When I find my thoughts racing before sleep, or if I wake up at night and start thinking about all the things that have gone wrong, I direct my mind to a visual image that soothes me. For some reason, I chose the Grand Canyon. I think back to a visit there, review the scenery, and am lulled to sleep. This is the ONLY way I can go or get back to sleep right now.

  • Sherry October 23, 2013, 6:23 pm

    I love to cook comfort foods and eat them. I also take long warm baths with lavender oil, and talk to one close friend that I trust. I pray and meditate also. I tend to worry in cycles about money , health issues , death , the unknown etc….and then I start to let go and feel better.

  • Mandy October 24, 2013, 1:45 am

    I think many of us have a tendency to worry too much, and I certainly think all the things you list help a lot. I do find it hard to get out of the worry cycle…but try to remind myself of all the myriad things I’ve worried about in the past, the vast majority of which never happened. Distraction works for me – if I can snap myself out of the thoughts going round in my head I can often break the chain. I find knitting incredibly good for this – the focus of working on a pattern makes it hard to think of other things.

    Remembering we’re not alone in this helps too – it’s comforting to read posts like yours being open about this issue 🙂

  • Lesley October 24, 2013, 4:52 am

    I am reading The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. I think it would help you to deal with your worries and put them into perspective. He tells you to relax and release the worry when it comes to you and to keep an open heart throughout. I think that the book would help you to find peace! I lost my husband right around the time you lost your dad and have found that being with family, getting outside, smelling lavender, and doing small acts of kindness for others have helped me to find joy. As you say to us, be well!

  • Kayla Dawn Thomas October 24, 2013, 9:37 am

    This post came into my inbox at the perfect moment! I am a constant worrier, and I’m coming off a sleepless night. I’ve been writing in my journal this morning, which has been very soothing. Now I’m headed out on a walk to enjoy the fall colors. Work can wait this morning. Thanks for this post!

  • swalia October 24, 2013, 9:43 am

    Meditation works the best for me. I meditate daily for about 20-22 minutes which relaxes and rejuvenates me. Meditation, yoga and chanting are the ultimate destressers for me.

  • Laura October 24, 2013, 9:53 am

    Like you, I’ve come to embrace that aspect of my character. It’s there for a reason, so how can I use it rather than struggle against it? Nowadays, I do my best to face my worry head-on, “is there something I can do about this? if yes, do it. If not, find a way to let it go.” and the letting go practice is a lot like yours: writing, walking, creating something, spending time outdoors. I also use meditation and prayer as a way of centering and bringing myself back to the present. And now, I spend as much time as possible with my granddaughter, who is 5 weeks old. I learn so much about being in the moment when I’m with her.

  • Rebecca October 24, 2013, 10:13 am

    Four things help:
    1. A quote I read, that worrying is like sending out a prayer for the outcome you DON’T want
    2. Taking stock of what is working. Food, income, health, family good, weather good, coffee hot today, check and check, all is well.
    3. Gratitude distraction; one technique is to look around you all day and say “that is my favorite_______.” My favorite flavor of coffee, favorite mug, favorite time of morning, favorite show, favorite autumn leaf I’ve found, favorite shade of blue in the sky… to go big and go long and crazy with it.
    4. Stop watching and listening to the news for a spell. Or forever. You’ll find out what’s happening, without being in a frantic, anxiety-provoking loop. That’s how newsmakers compel you to listen.

  • Lyle Robinson October 24, 2013, 10:37 am

    Hey Tammy 🙂

    I was the opposite of you…and still am. My mother WAS a worrier, which was understandable since she was a single mother with very little income trying to give me the best life possible…and I don’t know how, but she succeeded 🙂

    However, I think it was because she was always worrying that I somehow decided mentally to not become a worrier. I am now 52 and still feel the same way although some times I feel that maybe I should worry just a little, but I just can’t bring myself to do so!

    Take care and thanks for sharing. All the best.

  • Kathy October 24, 2013, 10:44 am

    When worrying thoughts begin, I have a verse that I memorized to keep me from being consumed by anxieties.

    Philippians 4:6-7 “In nothing be anxious, but in everything, by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses every man’s understanding, will guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus.”

    I guarantee this verse, along with others you may find more to your situation, will keep you from focusing on the worrisome events in our lives. We can live an overcoming life by keeping the Word of God central in our thoughts. There are many times when I allow myself to neglect this way of thinking. It takes only a nudge from the Lord to return (or repent) and find His life-giving words refreshing my spirit.

    • Miranda October 26, 2013, 5:29 pm

      I have several verses memorized that I repeat to myself when times are stressful. I am surprised sometimes by how much that helps!

  • Sharle Kinnear October 24, 2013, 10:59 am

    Being in the present moment is the one thing that defuses stress for me. And being in nature is one prime way I do that. A walk on the beach, or through a woods – with a cup of tea and lemon afterward – is a major worry killer! Last week, I was walking on a spongy path through the CA redwoods, and as I looked up at the ancient giants towering above me, I realize how small my worries are in the grand scheme of things . . . good medicine!

  • Kylie October 24, 2013, 11:30 am

    Oh, goodness. Meditation and mindfulness *for sure*. The totally incredible thing, which seems like magic but is actually science (crazy!) is that meditation and mindfulness practices (like being in nature mindfully) can change the structure of our brains. So those of us who are worriers can become less worry-filled over time. That, to me, is just miraculous.

  • Katie October 24, 2013, 11:51 am

    SNAP to all of the above! Delving deep and doing meditative activities like writing, walking, photographing and knitting help me sort through and solve all of my problems and worries, in a good logical manner. X

  • Krystal (Simple Life Celebrations) October 24, 2013, 12:00 pm

    Thanks for opening up this discussion Tammy! I am a worrier too and so is my daughter. I have learned to stop worrying so much so that I can set an example for my girl. It is not easy but worrying robs us from everyday simple joys and pleasures. When I am worried I talk to my hubby and try and find solutions right away before small things become big things. Meditation and breathing exercises also help me.
    Take care.

  • Kaylin Lydia October 24, 2013, 4:25 pm

    I am also a worrier and I manage it through a regular gratitude space and getting in touch with nature. These help me maintain perspective and feel the unity. : )

  • Alma K. October 24, 2013, 5:24 pm

    I divert my attention by working jig saw puzzles. I don’t believe in “worry” or “guilt”. If I can take action, I do. If I can’t take action, I work a jig saw. If I made a mistake, I learn from it and move on. “Worry” and “guilt” only steal time from my life. Maybe the fact that I’m 75 puts things in perspective.

  • Rebekah October 24, 2013, 6:22 pm

    I am apt to worry, and I too realize that it is just something that I need to keep working to minimize. I have found several things to help me worry less. One of the most useful is numbering all my blessings in a continual list, and I do this daily or multiple times a day. It keeps me present in the moment. I love it, and I enjoy looking at the things from the past that I enjoy. I also find that writing about the feelings or stresses of the day helps me to understand what it really is that I’m nervous about. Or I talk to my husband about how I’m really feeling–every day if I can. Yoga helps a ton, which I’m thankful for. And I find that consciously breathing helps me when I have no pen around, nor a husband or yoga mat nearby. Something this past year that’s helped is being authentic and having just one version of myself. It’s a lot less work and worry to be genuine with every person. Thanks for your words! I really enjoy your writing.

  • Laura October 24, 2013, 9:06 pm

    I use a bit of self-talk, with a special focus on memories of the things I’ve made it through before. I think you reach a point where you can look back and say, “I not only survived, but again figured out how to thrive, even after this, and this, and this…” Too, I find a shift toward gratitude coupled with a bit of volunteer work when I’m especially worried, can go a long way toward putting life in perspective. Perhaps, though, my single biggest tool: Stopping in my tracks, taking a deep breath, and looking – really looking – at the world around me, at the things that had slipped beyond my focus, courtesy of the blinders we call worry and trouble. It never ceases to amaze me that I could have yet again allowed myself to become so lost in my own rumination that I’ve momentarily lost sight of the beauty and wonder available to us at any given moment. In such instances, worry is quickly slain by humility and gratitude, though I am left all too achingly reminded how deep my lack of awareness can grow when swept and swirled out of present reality into the land of “What If” monsters, and the unnecessary mayhem they create.

  • Delicia October 25, 2013, 7:05 am

    Snap! I am also a worrier. I have found that for me a regular yoga practice, meditating, breathing and practicing gratitude all bring me into the now moment. By being in the now, the things I am worrying about become smaller. And life seems easier then. Thank you for your sharing x

  • Miranda October 26, 2013, 5:25 pm

    I used to worry a lot. Then one day I realized that things have always worked out. Not always the way I wanted them to, but they have always worked out. It was a shock! That makes it easy to trust that they will always work out in the future as well.

    I still do whatever I can to take the best care of myself possible and be in the best place possible, because the better place I am in the better everything else is, including the actions and choices I make. So now when things get stressful or concerning I just put them aside and focus on getting to the best possible place, and I trust that it will all work out….and it always has, sometimes in surprising ways.

    • Miranda October 26, 2013, 5:31 pm

      I should mention that the only things I ever worried about were things I had any control over. If something is out of my hands, like waiting for a medical test result or something other people’s actions, I never worried about them. There was nothing I could do, and so I was insanely calm during those times. The things I did have control over however, I used to worry about big time.

  • Anna P October 27, 2013, 6:53 am

    Hello, my name is Anna and I am an ex-worrier.

    Much like many of those who have already commented, one day I had an insight that made worrying futile. This may sound trite but that is the reality. When you only intellectually know it’s no use worrying, you probably still do, PLUS now to top it off feel guilty about it! However when you also emotionally see where worrying really stems from (hint: not the outside circumstances, but your state of mind – whether it is clear or ‘foggy’), then will you automatically see many of the now-worries melt away. No years of practice, no techniques, none of that.

    Tammy, I have been so inspired by your blog over the years that if you’d like, I would be honored to talk more about this insight with you! I know you have so much to give and all the worrying is just taking the energy away that could be used in experiencing the wonders and colors that is Life.

  • Tammy Strobel October 27, 2013, 9:17 am

    I haven’t had a chance to respond to each of you, but I appreciate your wise words. It helps me worry less and be in the moment. Thank you so much!

    Be well,