Worry and stress seem inevitable, but it’s possible to loosen their hold. We tend to borrow trouble from the future like we borrow books from the library, and we don’t even realize the cost.
And speaking of books, the public library is something you take for granted, until you don’t have one. We once lived in a very small town, and the nearest library was in another city miles away. We shopped for groceries once a week in that city and planned our library trips then. The problem was that the library had extremely restrictive policies for borrowers who lived outside of their county. We used to joke about feeling like “out-of-county scum.”
Fortunately we now live in a small city with a great library. Our kids consider it a treat to go to the library. Everyone browses, enjoys the facilities and checks out their books. We load the library basket and drive home, everyone poring over their finds in the backseat.
Borrowing books at the library is convenient and inexpensive. Until we lose track of time and rack up library fines. Our library has an email reminder system, but somehow days can pass and we don’t make the trip back across town. Twenty-five cents per book per day adds up fast!
At that point, borrowing books doesn’t seem like such a good idea.
There’s something else we borrow that isn’t in our best interest. It’s something that we borrow often, usually without realizing it.
It starts with the fact that the thoughts in your brain cause the release of chemicals. The type of thoughts–toxic or healthy–determine the type of chemicals. The chemicals are like little cellular signals that create emotions. You can “feel” what you’re thinking through your body’s reactions to the emotions.
One way we trigger toxic thoughts and the resulting effects is by responding emotionally to something that doesn’t exist except in our imagination.
We worry and fret and create mental pictures of what might happen. We borrow trouble from the future that hasn’t even happened.
“Worry is the interest paid by those who borrow trouble,” in the words of George Washington.
Our nervous system can’t tell the difference between a real experience and one that we imagine. Have you ever been startled by someone jumping out at you from a hidden spot? You weren’t really in danger but your body immediately, physically responded to the imagined danger.
We automatically respond physically to our imagined worries as if they are happening right now. When we start thinking stressful thoughts, our throat constricts, our heart rate speeds up and our muscles tighten. Then our thoughts race ahead and the cycle starts again….over something that isn’t even happening!
Julius Caesar mused “As a rule, men worry more about what they can’t see than what they can.” It helps to get perspective on what you’re worrying about.
The next time you realize that you are borrowing stress from future imagined worries, bring yourself back into the present. Live emotionally in “right now.” Stay aware of where you are and what is actually, really happening now.
Borrowing books at the library can be an enriching, educational experience. Borrowing trouble and worry from the future is neither.
If you don’t take books back on time, you have to pay a fine. And fretting about things that haven’t even happened costs you, too.
Charlotte Siems is a happy wife and mom of twelve who is a speaker, author and coach. After losing 100 pounds with T-Tapp, she became a Master T-Tapp Trainer, sharing her encouraging story with people all over the world. She has built a successful online business and writes about family life and T-Tapp at www.ThisLovelyPlace.com. Charlotte’s life experiences and training have uniquely qualified her to help others create a successful family and business.