People get so in the habit of worry that if you save them from drowning and put them on a bank to dry in the sun with hot chocolate and muffins they wonder whether they are not taking cold. ~John Jay Chapman, American author
My mother is a worrier.
And by that, I mean she worries over everything.
I don’t remember her being so caught up with fear when my sis and I were little.
Oh, sure, she fretted over whether the house was clean, whether we were eating properly, and whether she was raising us right.
Those seem like reasonable concerns though for a woman who at the time didn’t work outside the home.
But I noticed early on that Mom was different from Dad. She was more emotional, more dramatic, more delicate; he was more rational, objective, and sensible.
After Sis and I grew up, went to college and started our own careers, I assumed Mom would relax.
Her job was done and done well.
But she didn’t.
And Daddy’s death a decade ago added to her stress.
Today, in what should be her golden years, she’s caught up in an endless cycle of worry.
Fear of falling and having to go into a nursing home. Fear of illness and death. Concern over politics, the weather, and whatever else she believes needs her attention.
While worrying is learned behavior, it’s also inherited. There’s a gene for fretting, and it’s passed on to subsequent generations, much the way blond hair or dark skin is.
I don’t like that.
It’s enough of a challenge being the caregiver for a nervous, anxious, Chihuahua-type of person without becoming just like her!
Especially when I so desperately crave peace.
So when Mom flies off the handle, I employ some coping techniques:
- Avoid stress by taking care of me. Focus on healthy living, eating right, getting enough sleep, exercising. Refuse to be caught up in drama or situations I cannot control.
- Surround myself with kindness and compatible, supportive friends. Partake of retail therapy, even if all I do is window shop. Decorate my personal space with candles, flowers, and things that make me happy.
- Spend time alone. Time to contemplate, pray, meditate. Afterward, everything’s better in Debbie’s World.
- Immerse myself in work. Write, do web design, play music, read, interact with the dog. Staying busy is therapeutic.
- Realize that genes might be hereditary, but anxiety is controllable. Or, more accurately, my reaction to stressful situations is.
Any coping techniques you’d like to share here?
Blessed is the person who is too busy to worry in the daytime and too sleepy to worry at night. ~Author Unknown