Reframing Worry

For me, 2019 was a series of mountaintops and valleys. Lots of amazing memories were made but had some heartbreaking ones as well.

Something I’ll be focusing on in 2020 is reframing seemingly bad situations so worry doesn’t get the best of me.

I’ll admit, somewhere over the past 3–5 years, unfounded worry has crept in instead of faith and logical reasoning.

This is going to sound cheesy, but I’d like 2020 to be a year where I more effectively visualize what’s happening and focus in (like a telescope) to see the issue for what it is instead of disproportionately giving attention to it.

Most of you have probably seen diagrams like this when googling “worry diagram”:

I definitely don’t want to belittle or over generalize the real struggles we face in life, the idea of not worrying is easier said than done. However, I’d like to at least raise an internal threshold on what I’m worried about and what I allow to take up my thought life. Or maybe a better way to put it is — “am I concerning myself with the right things”?

IMO, the majority of the time, irrational fears and worry are due to the uncertainty or fear of the unknown. However, the more I understand and learn about what I’m dealing with the less likely I am to worry. Although I might not be able to fix the problem in its entirety or change what I can’t control, I can take it as an opportunity to learn and grow in resilience as a human.

Here are some reframing habits I’d like to form concerning worry:

  1. Control — Can I do anything about this, is it actionable?
  2. Prioritize— Put things into proper perspective by considering the whole picture. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
  3. Discover — Explore, learn, and plan more to shine a light into the unknown.
  4. Empathize — Be considerate and mindful of others. Many times my worries fade away when I focus on someone else other than me all the time.
  5. Gratitude — Be content and thankful for what I have and what is going well

And I’d like to take an incoming issue and do the following:

  1. Problem emerges (input)
  2. Funnel through and practice the 5 items mentioned above (process)
  3. Respond accordingly (output)
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
 — Matthew 6:25–27 (NIV)
“The chief task in life is simply this: to identify and separate matters so that I can say clearly to myself which are externals not under my control, and which have to do with the choices I actually control. Where then do I look for good and evil? Not to uncontrollable externals, but within myself to the choices that are my own…”
— Epictetus

With ❤️ Andrew