As we were in the San Jose airport this month, we were joined for coffee by two women executives laden with overstuffed briefcases & cell phones. In our subsequent conversation of where they were headed, we repeatedly heard issues of concern besides just their business worries. I heard the expression, ¡§I feel as if I am pulling a huge worry wagon behind me!¡¨ It¡¦s not unusual to feel worried. Its part of the human condition to occasionally worry about your family, your job, your health, your community, even global warming. When does worry become a chronic problem? When worry disrupts your daily routine, obstructs your ability to focus at work, or keeps you from sleeping at night, then you find worry controlling your life.

Does gender influence the amount of worry demonstrated by an individual? A study from Concordia University in Canada revealed that men and women can worry equally; but, about different issues. Men tend to worry about male congruence in role modeling and financial security. Women tend to worry about physical health and emotional well-being. If parenting is involved, then both genders add the uncertainties of their child¡¦s safety and longevity to their worry wagon.

How is chronic worry different from the occasional spell of worry? Chronic worriers find themselves reacting to an endless stream of problems, putting out fire after fire. A chronic worrier always feels on the edge of disaster over concerns that they individually cannot solve such as, the next big earthquake or a terrorists¡¦ biological warfare campaign. Consequently, chronic worriers will stop attending public activities they previously enjoyed. In srevere cases, they become so anxious over pending doom events; they become isolated, reclusive, immobilized in their own homes.

Occasional worry can motivate us to take action and assertively unravel problems, especially in instances of parenting or care giving. What can we do to relieve chronic worry? Remember that your mind has tremendous problem solving abilities. Tap into these by dispelling the negative exaggeration of a potential outcome with events that are not likely to happen. Chronic worry involves problems or concerns that are important to you; but, not under your direct control such as, global famines or epidemics. Some of us can dispel worry by discussions with friends, family, or specific advisors of your faith. Some can eliminate worry by putting their thoughts to paper, seeing a visual representation of the problem. And some even use relaxation techniques to change their pattern of thinking over a specific problem.
Think you might be pulling a heavy worry wagon? Ask yourself:
„X Over a given problem, what are your true options?
„X What choices do you have in the situation that you are worrying about?
„X In a specific worry state, can you remove the excess exaggeration and re-write the outcome to a positive result?
„X Is there a specific time of day you are better at problem solving than others such as, after just arriving to the gym or some solitude at lunch?
„X What feelings have you identified over your worries or specific situation? Can you use any of these to validate a course of action and sustain your feelings of self-worth?
„X How can you dispel the feeling of dread replacing it with ¡¥nudging¡¦ towards a solution or private motivation?
„X Are you spending a $100 of worry over a 10-cent problem? How can you classify your worries so that you see what is directly under control, even if requires more than one-step to a positive conclusion?
„X In one week, can you identify what is draining your energy to stop worrying, not enough sleep, close relationships, or relaxation? Once you have these elements, how can you change your living and thinking behavior?
„X What can you change about your lifestyle that would stop the chain reaction to worry and allow you more composed decision-making, consequently more choices?
„X Can you clarify your desired results from worry by discussions with your family, enlisting in a support group, or seeking professional help?

¡§Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.¡¨
Leo Buscaglia

Author's Bio: 

Bradley Morgan is a corporate and ontological coach who served as a corporate executive for over 17 years, in companies such as, IBM, Bay Networks, Premysis, and Brocade Communications. Bradley¡¦s credentials include a BS from Georgia Tech, a MS from UCLA, and a Professional Coaching Certification (PCC) through the Newfield Network program. In the telecommunications industry, she developed both domestic and international systems engineering teams for technical expertise and executive level leadership. Bradley is a member of the International Coaching Federation (ICF), American Management Associates, and the American Society on Aging (ASA).

And, Bradley is also the Founder and President of a non-profit company that specifically coaches American Indian students. The Looks Within Foundation is committed to the best in transitional coaching for these students from their reservation life and selects candidates from all tribal nations for scholarship funds in higher education. Bradley is a featured speaker at many of the student councils within the tribal nations.