The Antidote for Worry

| | General Leadership
Grey's Anatomy  http://abc.go.com/shows/greys-anatomy/photos/i-always-feel-like/305158

Grey's Anatomy http://abc.go.com/shows/greys-anatomy/photos/i-always-feel-like/305158

No matter how positive we may be or how much we try to think positive, let’s face it, sometimes we worry. I noticed myself drifting in and out of worry and doubt last week so I watched some TV for distraction. I tuned into Grey’s Anatomy. I guess I find other people’s drama to be far more entertaining than my own! Anyway, you may have heard the saying “when the student is ready the teacher will appear”. Who would have thought my teacher in that moment would be a TV Drama? Sometimes wisdom comes in strange packages indeed.

So here’s the scene…Seatle Grace hospital has just announced their first round of layoffs. The episode shows people’s reaction. You witness snippets of People experiencing the various stages of loss and the fear in those left regarding the fate of their future. When will the next layoff be? Will it be me? Will it be my friends? How can I protect myself?

A few of the more seasoned doctors take their spouses/girlfriends, younger doctors who are reeling from watching their colleagues get fired and battling their own fears about their future, to the ball field at night. And in that last scene, believe it or not, they dispense what I think is some brilliant advice.

The first line in the clip…”So walk your dog or take a nap. Whatever you do stop worrying.” made me think of a fabulous post by Sarah Robinson titled “Failing Sucks”. She talks about this concept of “walking the grid” to nurture yourself back from a failure. I think the same strategy can be very effective when it comes to our worry and doubt. It is definitely worth a read whether you have recently failed or find you are worrying a lot or doubting yourself in this moment.

The scene begins…

Christina, the most arrogant of the bunch, is particularly freaked out. They force a bat into her hand and while she is resisting they simply hurl a fast ball at her. It shakes her up. And the advice she is given by a former combat surgeon is this: “You need to stop thinking about what is going to happen. You need to focus on what is right in front of you. Now hit that ball…”

And hit it she does, much to her surprise. In an instant she is there, totally present in that moment, celebrating her small accomplishment. Her fear has been replaced almost instantaneously by elation and laughter.

That is the magic of focusing on now.

Click Here if you would like to watch the scene.

This brief scene reminded me that the antidote for worry and doubt consists of two things: focus and faith.


Focus on what you can do NOW.

Focus on what you do have control over NOW.

Focus on the things you can do that bring you joy and inspiration NOW.

Focus on every little success you have no matter how small and celebrate it NOW.


Faith in yourself and your strengths.

Faith in the future.

Faith in whatever higher power you believe in.

Faith in the people that love and support you.

I’ll close with the final words of the scene…

“Because the only cure for paranoia is to be here. Just as you are.”

What are your best strategies for dealing with worry and doubt?


Enter A Comment

Sarah Robinson   |   13 October 2009   |   Reply

Wow Susan. I am honored and flattered to included as a resource in such a great post about worry and doubt. And you nailed – showing up and staying present using whatever anchors you can find is the only way to the other side of it all. Well done. 😉

Susan Mazza   |   15 October 2009   |   Reply

Thank you Sarah. Your post obviously has stuck with me! For those of you who do not know Sarah she is the master of “escaping mediocrity” – a fabulous coach whose blog I highly recommend http://www.themaverickmom.com/.

Lolly Daskal   |   13 October 2009   |   Reply

Worry, Worry, Worry….we all do it…..it is so easy to forget what we need to do today by worrying about tomorrow. We can learn not to worry by learning to live one day at a time. We can do this by doing what is in front of us, to the best of our ability. We can leave yesterday behind, where it belongs, and need not concern ourselves with tomorrow until it arrives. My mantra: let me live in the present, and let the future take care of itself. Thank you, Susan for the great reminder and great post.

Susan Mazza   |   15 October 2009   |   Reply

Let me live in the present is a great mantra. It is something I find I have to continually work very hard at, but it is always worth the effort. Those moments of true presence are priceless!

Reigneer   |   14 October 2009   |   Reply

Hi Susan,

Great post. I totally agree with Chuck that we’re not in control of everything, so circumstances that we can’t control are better off given to God (thanks to Chuck for tweeting this link, btw). We just need to do the best we can on things we can control. This leads to concentrating our efforts on things that can make a difference.

I always think it doesn’t matter if you worry or not about a problem/situation, it’s still going to be there. By worrying, you’re just going to make yourself feel worse, and it still doesn’t solve anything.

Another suggestion is to always be positive about your situation. No matter what it is, it can be worse. Just look at people in third world countries, and you’ll see how much better off we are and the multiple opportunities we have to make things better.

Wally Bock   |   15 October 2009   |   Reply

Don’t just take the breaths. Count them, too. Counting shifts your brain to logical areas where emotion can’t hijaak you.

Susan Mazza   |   15 October 2009   |   Reply

Thanks for joining the conversation Reigneer. I especially like your point that worry does nothing to affect the situation, it just makes you feel worse about it. Even if we are struggling to be positive about our situation it can be helpful to put it into perspective.

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