Management Anecdote: "Worrying Yourself to Death"
A recent survey by the Everyman Campaign has discovered that the average person spends 36 minutes every day worrying. That's 9 whole days a year or a year and a half over a lifetime. 200 of those in the 2000 surveyed spend more than 2 hours a day worrying. Apparently, people's chief worries are money, cancer, getting fat, and not living life to the full. To make matters worse, nearly half of respondents admitted that they can't stop worrying and believe they are "born worriers". To complete the picture of misery, one in five switch off from their worries by slumping in front of the television from where they are likely to unknowingly refresh their worry supply of things that are wrong with them and wrong with the world.
If this picture of how people live their lives rings a bell with you, then take a moment out of your anxieties to read this story of "The Man Who Worried Himself to Death".
Anecdote: "The Man Who Worried Himself to Death"
There was a man who worked for the railroad. One day as he went into the freezer compartment to do his routine work, the door accidentally closed and he found himself trapped in the compartment. He shouted for help but no one heard him since it was past midnight. He tried to break down the door but he could not. As he lay in the freezer compartment, he began to feel colder, and colder. Then he began to feel weaker, and weaker, and he wrote on the wall of the compartment, “I am feeling colder, and colder; and I am getting weaker, and weaker. I am dying, and this may be my last words”. In the morning when the other workers opened up the compartment they found him dead. The sad twist to the above story is that the freezing apparatus in the compartment had broken down a few days earlier. The poor worker did not know about the damaged freezing apparatus and in his mind the freezing apparatus was working perfectly. He felt cold, got weaker and literally willed himself to die.
How to Stop from Worrying Yourself to Death
If you're like the man in the story and automatically start to worry at the first sign of "something wrong", then here are 5 steps to change this habit and become a "re-born optimist".
1. live in the present. Worry feeds on the past and projects into the future. Simply ask yourself if you're OK right now, (chances are you are), and stay there.
2. learn some simple relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, muscle un-tensing, and visualisation. Your worry will dissipate when you focus on these.
3. kill your fear. Worry is just another manifestation of fear. And fear, you should tell yourself, stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is based on a belief and, as Montaigne said, "99.9% of the things we fear never happen to us".
4. accept the very worst that can happen to you. When you do this, no matter what the consequences, you'll feel a sense of relief, which is a better place from which to take action.
5. worry in positives. Since you are expert at being a born worrier, train yourself to turn negative worries into positive ones. Your life will immediately change for the better.
Other Resources to Stop Worrying Yourself to Death
Worrying yourself to death is a symptom of emotional stress. Take a look at our full range of Stress Management products here.
For a great one-page MTL SkillBooster on Managing Emotions: Letting Go of Fear, Letting in Love, click here.
Download the free e-book, "Transform Your Fear" from Evolution Ezine here.
For 5 great StressBusters that will immediately put you into the perfect state of health, click here.