An interesting survey was done a few years ago on what the average person worries about. The survey found that forty percent of what people worry about never happens. And thirty percent of what people worry about had already happened so you couldn’t do anything about it. Twelve percent of what the average person worries about is what others say about you, which most of the time is untrue. Finally, according to this survey, ten percent of worry deals with your health and worrying will only make that worse!
That leaves about eight percent of the things that are considered to be real problems… and worry will not do any good with these either!
In other words, we worry about a lot of things that are not going to happen or have already happened. In the wonderful book “How to stop worrying and start living” by Dale Carnegie there is an excellent technique to handle worry.
It’s called the ‘Worry Buster’ and it has four simple steps:
- Define in writing exactly what you are worried about. In medicine there is a saying that accurate diagnosis is 50% of the cure. So write down exactly what you are worried about. For example “I am worried about my job.” Or “I am worried about a business client I have who is slow paying their invoice.”
- Define in writing the Worst Possible Outcome (W.P.O.) of this worry. If you have concerns about your job, the worst possible outcome is that you lose this job. If you have concerns about a business client being slow to pay their invoice the worst possible outcome is that you never get paid.
- Decide mentally to accept the worst possible outcome should it occur. This will mentally relieve a lot of stress. Ask yourself will this outcome kill me? Will losing your job kill you? Will not getting paid kill you? In most cases the answer is no. (Asking this simple question allows you to put your worry in perspective.)
- Take action immediately to make sure the worst possible outcome doesn’t occur. Action is the antidote for worry. If you are worried about your job, talk to someone in your organisation who can give you more accurate information about your concerns.
Another useful strategy to eliminate worry is the ten year question. This is a great question to ask whenever you experience a major setback of any sort. “Ten years from now will this really matter?” This puts everything in perspective fast! If I were to ask you what you were worried and concerned about on this day 12 months ago most people wouldn’t have a clue. This goes to show that much of what we think is terrible today is usually not that important even a year later. Ten years is even longer.
Use the Worry Buster technique on any worry you have right now. It’s an excellent tool to eliminate worry quickly. And the more worries you eliminate the happier you will feel.