The Happiness Connection  

Are you infected by worry?

We live in worrisome times – if you are a worrier.

I suppose that if you’re prone to worrying, life is always worrisome.

What’s the opposite of worrying? In my books, it is trusting.

I come from a family of worriers, so this is not a new topic of thought for me.

My mother said she could never sleep until everyone was home. It surprised me to discover that I didn’t share the same affliction.

The first time my daughter was out when my bedtime rolled around, I wasn’t sure what to do.

Was I supposed to stay up? I was tired. I decided to go to bed and if I stayed awake, that would be fine.

The next thing I knew, it was morning. I crept to her bedroom and peered in to see if she was there. She was.

I repeated this same behaviour with my son. I’d check to see if he was home by looking for his car in the driveway or peeking into his room.

I wondered if my ability to sleep peacefully while my children were out meant I was a bad mom. Wasn’t I supposed to have sleepless nights full of worry?

I know bad things can happen, but honestly, I don’t think that worrying about horrible possibilities is going to change anything.

I did everything I could to bring my children up to believe in their abilities to look after themselves. Now, it is up to them. They know that if they need me, I am always here for them.

I’m not writing this to brag about my parenting abilities.

I started thinking about worry when I heard about the potential of COVID-19 exposure in downtown Kelowna around Canada Day.

My parents are in a very high-risk category, but I choose to trust that whatever happens will happen. I am doing my best to help protect them, but I can’t control – much of anything.

I believe that everything in life is a choice. You don’t have to worry. You may be so used to anxiety that you think it is part of your DNA, but it is a choice that has become a habit.

Just because that’s what your mom did, doesn’t mean you have to do the same.

I think some generations were brought up to believe that worrying about someone shows you care. But does it? Or does it show a lack of trust in their ability to take care of themselves?

I recently had the opportunity to be on the receiving end of worry.

I was planning to drive to Arizona in March. I have driven into the States many times, but this was my first solo trip.

For some reason, my parents got it into their heads that I might go without travel insurance. I have never done that before, so why they thought I would do it now is beyond my comprehension?

I know that they were coming from a place of love, but that didn’t change the underlying message that I heard. You need us to protect you.

I saw their concern as a lack of trust, like I wouldn’t be able to manage on my own.

I am a very independent and strong woman, not to mention that in some places I am considered a senior. I saw their concern as an insult. Didn’t they trust me to look after myself?

In truth, I believe that trust is one of the greatest compliments a parent can bestow on their child.

If you worry about your adult children, stop to think about why that is.

Is it a habit, lack of trust, or do you think you can in some way protect them with your concern? Take a minute to examine the message you might be sending to your family.

Worrying is a choice. Only you can decide if it is the right choice for you, but remember you don’t have to worry. It is not a prerequisite for showing love or being a good parent.

Building trust in yourself and others is a good way to battle worry. If you have a belief in God or another spiritual being, lean into your faith.

Life isn’t about control. Control is an illusion. It’s about being able to handle whatever comes your way.

It is easy to slip into a habit of worrying. Try breaking that cycle by having a conversation with yourself.

  • Why are you worried?
  • Do you think you can control the situation by worrying?
  • How do you think your worry is going to help?
  • What message are you sending to the people you are worried about?
  • Do you want to choose to worry or to trust?

Habits were once choices. Many of your choices are made automatically, without conscious thought. That doesn’t mean you can’t consciously make a new selection.

It is never too late to make a different choice.

Worry comes from a place of control and chaos. Trust comes from a place of peace. Which do you want to choose?

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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