I look around and watch the world, and wonder about many things. I was fortunate to inherit an enquiring mind from my Mom (and maybe my Dad, but I never did meet him), and that is why I so much enjoyed my research career. One of the things that I wonder about is why people worry so much (hypothesis number one – neocortex too big to handle). I know people worry, because I’ve done my share. We each have personal histories that generate these tapes in our heads, and they go around and around and around, until you cut the tape. I’m bad, I’m bad I’m bad OR I’m ugly, I’m ugly, I’m ugly, OR its not my fault, it’s not my fault, it’s not my fault, OR I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. SMDW – same music, different words. Cut the tape, and BOOM, worry fades towards an asymptote. In a blog post a long time ago, I described my best example of a personal life fix achieved purely through a thought process known as creative visualization. It works if you do the work and I find that exercise helps too.
But the endless worry, you hear it everywhere, and it doesn’t seem to be a function of the level of risk in people’s everyday lives, but it is clearly stoked by the media (which I avoid at all costs – no tanks in the streets means it is a good day, generally). I finally became exasperated with my personal tendency to worry in my late 50s, so I stopped it with some psychological help, and suddenly my life became better, sunnier, even more vibrant.
There are a many ways avoid wasting your life on worry or anxiety, but they all involve work of some kind. We each have to tackle our life journey in our own way, but I recommend that you consider the following solutions:
- Turn off the tapes running in your head through meditation.
- Go for a run, with friends or on your own, preferably along a wooded trail in the early morning sunshine, and listen!
- Turn off the tapes running in your head through talk therapy and mental discipline (work), as described by M. Scott Peck, in ‘The Road Less Traveled,’ which means accepting your problems as your responsibility.
- If you make a mistake take responsibility, try to fix it, but DON’T beat yourself up about it.
- Have an early morning swim (at least 3000 yards, steady), even if you hate early mornings anything, and don’t forget to put on lotion to prevent the itching, and then treat yourself to the breakfast of your dreams.
- Read a good self help book, my personal favorite being, ‘Self Help For The Bleak,’ because it made me laugh.
If you find that religion helps, which I don’t but that is a personal choice, say The Serenity Prayer each day, as it is just good old common sense to not waste your brain power worrying about things that you cannot change or fix.
- Change your job if it is feeding your tapes, but don’t expect the external world to fix your internal problems.
- Help someone else with their exercise program or their life, it gets you out of yourself, which then puts things in perspective – but don’t use this approach to underestimate the damage being done to you on a daily basis by your ‘uncut tapes.’
- Make a picnic, a small one, get on your bike, and ride off into the countryside for 50 miles or so, find a quiet spot, enjoy your food, then ride back, nice and steady all the way. Then jump in a hot bath, have a great dinner, and read a book before falling asleep.
- Don’t let other people live rent free in your head.
- Do a hard brick, say 50-100 mile bike ride, followed by a 5-10 mile run (or the equivalent challenge for you) – now that works every time, but you had better be well conditioned for it before you try. And don’t tell me you’re too old, that’s BS.
- Have a massage or go dancing.
- If none of that helps, go tell your therapist about it, but don’t take drugs to fix the problem, they generally don’t work as far as I can tell, unless there is some organic problem.
- Meditate, meditate, meditate, using the technique described in ‘The Power Of Now,’ it actually works – watch the chatter and it goes silent! Remarkable.
- Don’t give up and don’t give in, and trust me, there is life beyond worry, which never fixes anything.
Life’s too interesting to waste on worry!
|Workout PLAN Coach: Chris Hauth|
5-7′ warm up jog
40′ at Z2 running HR – steady
then: 6×1′ VERY fast, upper Z3, low Z4 running with Z2 30 recovery.
10′ at Z2 running HR – steady
15′ at Z3 running HR – good form
10′ warm down jogZ2 30 recovery = see your HR recover down to Z2 range and remain there for 30 seconds before you go into the next effort.