Some consider it normal to worry about things. Some people do a lot more of it than others, and some people get paralysed by the many things they worry about. The secret to having a good life is by worrying enough, but not overly doing so. It’s about coping with the strains and stresses that come from worrying that makes the difference.
So, get yourself two large jars. Note: they can be boxes or any other kind of container, but my view is that The ideal would be jars like the old candy or cookie jars, big glass jars, with a wide opening, are preferable, because you can see what’s in them. But they could be any kind of container that you can store somewhere handy and can look at any time you feel like it.
The first jar
This is called the Worry Jar. Label it ‘The Worry Jar”.
Now, think about anything that is worrying you. Get a sheet of paper (I use squares of about 3 inches (7.5 cm), but strips from any sized paper will do just as well), and write down the name of the worry you have.
The thing about worries is that there are two main types.
The first is a worry that you can do something about, right now. If the worry you have written down is that type, then do what you need to do, NOW! Sometimes, this means that you need to look things up, or have to get help to complete whatever it is. But there is something that you can do immediately with the worry. Start on the worry as soon as you can — don’t let it fester. If you let it fester, it grows so big that you can’t get rid of it.
If you can do something NOW, then you are stopping its growth while it is small enough to handle. It’s the “A stitch in time saves nine” kind of worry. In another musing, you’ll see how to makes sure that your problem/worry can be handled, but for the moment, just do what you normally do about any problem or worry (except letting it fester).
If you can’t do anything about the worry, add a line to the piece of paper with the worry name: a date or time when you might be able to handle the worry.
Then put the paper into the worry jar.
The second jar
Call it your blessings jar, and label it as such: “The Blessings Jar”.
It’s very important that you have a Blessings Jar. And that you maintain it constantly. As with the Worry Jar items, write each blessing on your scraps of paper.
Blessings are the good things that are happening to you. Write them down immediately, with a Name for the blessing. Add the date and time, and insert into your blessings jar.
What kind of stuff do you consider blessings?
- Your accomplishments, no matter how small, for a start.
- The nice things you did for other people
- The nice things people did for you
- Things you enjoyed doing
- Gifts you received
And anything that you want to remember in the future.
Keep track of them all, no matter how unimportant they may seem at the time.
Using your jars
Every day, just before going to bed, make it a habit to open your blessings jar, and read all your notes on them. Think about each of them, and what they did for you. As you think about them, say ‘Thank you’, whether it is to the universe (or God, or whatever) or to some individual you just met once.
If you have the time, it’s also a good thing to do in the morning after you get up, but don’t miss the last thing at night exercise of reading your blessings.
For your worry jar, find a set time during the day, or at least set a time once a week or once a month. It must be a specific time or time and day, and be sure that you have this time/date set in your list of things to do.
When the time/date comes around, open your worry jar, and bring out all the worries that you have collected over that time.
For each one, check what you can do to “fix” that worry. If you can do something about the worry, then do so. If you can’t…
Well, there are two possibilities. The first is that you can change the date under the worry name to when you might be able to resolve your worry. That’s delaying the worry for another day or week or month.
The other possibility (which is more likely) is that the worry will have disappeared. If so, then you can destroy the piece of paper.
And, when you have put the worries back into the jar (or resolved them or made them disappear), look at your Blessings Jar — it will have far more blessings than you have worries after a few weeks or months.
Which tells you…
That worries are far less important than blessings, and you can have a very happy life, if you worry only about those things you can do something about, and not burden yourself with things that you can’t affect.
That way, you really can live a happy and fruitful life!