A 5 Step Recipe for a Worry Free Day

A 5 Step Recipe for a Worry Free Day

‘Worry. Oh worry, worry, worry. Worry will just not seem to leave my mind alone.’

Where arguably this verse could have been taken directly from my brain, it’s actually a lyric from Ray LaMontagne’s Trouble. It is also happens to be the topic du jour.



Yes, ick.

So if I feel so strongly about it – loathing the experience every time I do it – why the heck do I continue to do it? Why, when I went to see my orthopedic acupuncturist (AKA the body whisperer extraordinaire), did he feel my back and neck and – in an instant – tell me to stop worrying, saying he could feel it in my body? And why on earth was he absolutely 100%…….right?

According to him, worry is a built in defense mechanism, particularly for women. It makes us more cautious (in many cases, but definitely not all) and because of that we are much less likely to get hurt. Why do you think women’s car insurance is lower then men’s? Worry causes us to take less risks, which means we get hurt less often. Again – this is in most cases, but certainly not all (remind me to tell you about the time I jumped out of a….um….never mind…..).

One night soon after I moved to LA, single, green and very Canadian, I put on my red converse runners, blue jeans, white tank top, and black blazer (hipster cool, I know). I shot myself a wink in the mirror (wouldn’t you?), and drove my solo self over to a place called the Piano Bar to hear my friend Sal sing and play some tunes (it should be noted that I agonized over my outfit, worrying that I wouldn’t fit in, that I was trying to be cooler – much cooler – than I actually was. Then I worried about finding a parking spot, and then I did the ol’ “shoot, did I lock the car?” routine once I got to the bar. Then I worried about being out too late, and then I worried about….well….you get the picture).

Sal sang a song that night called Down on Love, and to this day, I will never forget one of the lyrics:

Worry is like a rocking chair. Always moving, never gets you anywhere.

Anytime I catch myself worrying about something (which is multiple times a day, according to my back and neck…and conscious mind), I find that song and sing that lyric as loud as I can.

Incidentally, this is the first ingredient in today’s recipe:

A 5 step Recipe for a Worry Free Day

3 heaping tablespoons of this lyric, sung as loud as you can given your surroundings:

Worry is like a rocking chair. Always moving, but never gets you anywhere.

Worry alone won’t help you. But action will. If you’re going to worry, create an action plan that will stop or address that worry. Carry out the plan, and then carry on with your life.

1/4 cup of letting go of expectations:

People may place expectations on us, which causes us to worry if we’re not living up to them.

But we also place our own expectations on ourselves, and oftentimes it can cause unnecessary worry.

For instance, I’ve taken it upon myself to be the chief meal officer of the house (aka the chef). My husband was never one for cooking, and I am, so it made sense. To be clear: he never asked me to play this role. I chose to.

Some nights when he comes home after a long day and I haven’t made dinner yet, he asks what is for dinner. Seems natural, considering I usually have dinner made. A harmless question, right?

Nope. Like paint balls spraying from a gun, I rapidly shoot back a list of reasons why I didn’t have time that day in a not-so nice and much-louder-than-usual tone of voice. Now, remember, this is a natural question to ask, considering I typically have dinner prepared on any given night. But I’ve placed that expectation on myself. He hasn’t. He is just as happy to go out and grab a bite somewhere if I haven’t had time to cook. He never expects me to have a meal prepared. Meanwhile, I take his having to go out and grab a bite as a personal failure.

Ladies and gents – this is silly. I realize that. But we do this all the time – or at least I do – in many areas of our lives. So remember to mind those expectations. Keep them in check so they don’t drive you to worry for no good reason (and to lash out at our poor, unassuming loved ones).

1 tablespoon of taking statements at face value:

Stop placing meaning on simple statements, making them mean something they don’t. Usually, this practice causes unnecessary worry.

You know what I’m talking about. Your boss says, “Sally, I’d like to see you in my office at 3pm.”

Your mind races. Oh my Gosh. What does she want? Is she going to fire me? That’s it. She’s going to fire me. I knew it. I knew it. She gave me that weird look in the meeting last week and now she’s firing me. What am I going to do? How will I pay my rent? How will I get a reference for another job?

Before you’ve made it into your boss’ office at 3pm you’ve already fired yourself, figured out where you’re going to live, and found some moving boxes!

Turns out your boss wanted to give you a raise.

A what?

We do this, ladies (and some gents). We practice this kind of personal listening, taking simple statements and making them mean something they don’t.

I’m not saying you’re not right sometimes – you are! But there is no need to cause yourself unnecessary worry until you confirm that there is indeed something to worry about.

And if you really truly feel that someone is saying much more than the actual statement that comes out of their mouth, talk to them about it. Say something like, “I could be crazy but I feel like you may be mad at me about something.” Then give them a chance to respond. And believe what they say. Maybe their tone is a reflection of the fact that they might be having a bad day, and it has nothing to do with you at all.

Bottom line: don’t worry until you have to. And even then – don’t. Just be constructive about it.

2 teaspoons of getting out of your head:

We can be our own worst enemies. You know it’s true:

Is my hair ok? Do I have anything in my teeth? Does my breathe stink? Are their boogers in my nose? Did I leave the oven on? Does he like me? Why did I send that text? Great. Now he’s going to think I’m a total nut job.

Well, the way that voice is rambling on, you kind of are!

That little voice in your head can be obnoxious, and at times, downright mean. Though it is your voice, it’s not the one you want to listen to. Not until it has something nice and uplifting to say, that is. And if it doesn’t, you go ahead and give it a time out. Quiet it down, focus on the good, and if it still won’t stop bugging you, proceed to the next ingredient:

4 1/2 cups of the game, “What’s the worst that can happen?”:

If you must entertain that gnawing, silly little voice that won’t quiet down, play a little game. Grab a pencil/pen and paper. Start with worry #1. Ask yourself, “If this worry were a reality, what’s the worst that could happen?” Go through all of your worries of the moment in this way. This should help you to distinguish between what worries are actually constructive and will lead to a better you, and what worries have no place in your precious mind (and neck and shoulders).

There are a plethora of ways you can stop the worrying, or at least make worrying a constructive activity. We’ve only touched on a few here. But if you’re a worry wart – do yourself a favor and try them out. See what works for you. Whatever you do, just get to living that happy, worry-free life of yours! Because life is now, friends. Life is now.

And if I haven’t hit you over the head with it enough already, I leave you with a haunting refrain – and great reminder – from the great Jewel:

“If I could tell the world just one thing it would be that we’re all ok.
And not to worry cause’ worry is wasteful and useless in times like these.”

Love, love, love,