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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Worry Bug

Are you a worrier? I am. Can you teach your kids not to worry? Doubtful. But maybe you can teach them HOW to worry, so they won’t worry their lives away.

When my son was small, I found an amazing book called Sam’s Worries by MaryAnn MacDonald. It’s about a young boy who stays up worrying at night. He worries about everything from a library book getting lost to an earthquake at school.

The only thing that stops Sam from worrying is his Teddy Bear, who promises to stay up all night worrying for him. It will make you wish for a worrying Teddy Bear—I know I wanted one after reading this book. Because we all worry, and some of us light on one worry after another like flies.

Being a grownup and all, the bear idea doesn’t work as well, but a friend once told me to give myself a time limit on worrying every day and that kind of helps. I also figured out how to stop myself from obsessing in the middle of the night (my favorite obsession time) by repeating a mantra over and over – which can be any word that won’t get me obsessing again.

Is worry ever good? I would have said no a few days ago but then my husband cut a tendon in half in his finger while trying to open a package and I thought, well, maybe it’s a good idea to worry now and then. Makes you a little more cautious when opening packages.

It can also help you prepare better for projects, because you start earlier than you would if you’re not worried. I’ve never been able to be much of a last-minute person (though sometimes I wish I was). But the good side of prepping for stuff early means I have less stress later on.

Kids don’t need to worry incessantly, but if you don’t learn to care about things like school deadlines, you know how easy it can be to lose track of them. Maybe keeping track isn’t exactly what you’d call worry, but it does seem to involve at least some level of concern, if not anxiety.

How do you balance worry about deadlines with staying away from overthinking or worrying too much? Was Sam ever able to learn how to keep this balance when he grew up?

We can’t really know, because Sam is a fictional character. But we can hope he did. And learn to stop OVER worrying. Here’s some ideas I found that may help: