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Since You Have a Choice – Which Are You Choosing: Worry or Concern?

What is the difference between worry and concern?

Worrying is an on going repetitive loop that begins and ends at the same point.  There is no resolution or call to action, just a looping in an obsessive/addictive manner.  It’s very common and most people do it.  Some are what I call “Master Worriers” and others visit the process of worrying like a weekly trip to the grocery store.

Concern, on the other hand, seems to have a destination: a final point of arrival.  We are looking out into the future and we see the possibility of something happening, so we make plans and take action steps now to avoid what we are seeing.  People who have mastered the process of “concern” usually are leaders or people who seem to just have it all together.  They are calmer, focused and take results orientated action.

The worrier can be seen sitting, fidgeting, maybe perspiring, wringing their hands, almost frozen in their bodies.  Action does not seem to be taking place because it might not be perfect or solve the problem at hand.  You can almost see their brain going around and around on some track, much like that little hamster on its tread wheel.  A lot of energy is being exerted, but nothing really is going on or changing.  It’s painful to watch and it’s even more painful to experience.  Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness show up, and that fuels the looping even more.

The person who feels concerned on the other hand, might be writing out a goal and some action steps that might take them to their end result.  S/he might be making some phone calls or exploring on the internet to gather more information about how others have created a resolution to a similar situation.  They might express a sense of urgency, but panic and overwhelm are not present because movement is going on.  And in the movement, the person is tracking to see if the actions they are taking are effective in getting them to the desired result.

The mental pictures the worrier creates are filled with disaster, failure, disappointment, shame and a great sense of loss.  Since the mind and body doesn’t know the difference between “imagined” reality and “real” reality, the body reacts to these pictures of gloom and doom.  The body becomes acidic, the muscles contract, the digestive system shuts down, sleep is disturbed, and the heart pounds faster, there is a shortness of breath, and blood is pulled from the extremities.  We are preparing for the worst.  We are arming up and getting ready for serious battle.  The left hemisphere of the brain is lit up.  It’s cooking.  It’s attempting to come up with some logical reason for what they’ve projected is going to happen.

Interestingly, the mental pictures of the concerned person are almost the exact opposite.  There is a visualization of the end result they want.  They see themselves taking the steps, communicating to those that might help and those that might be blocking their progress.  The left hemisphere of the brain is awake and active.  Since the person is more relaxed, they are taking nice deep breathes, sending the brain lots of wonderful oxygen.  They are looking outside of the box, outside their typical way of looking at the situation.  They are not holding a position of “rightness,” rather they are willing to see and do things differently.  There is a feeling of excitement in the possibility that something new can be learned.  A better way to live or to interact with others is about to show up.  The primary thought and feeling is, “Wow!  This could be exciting!”

The worrier believes their worry pattern saves their butt.  It keeps them on their toes.  It has made the positive difference in their life and they refuse to give it up.  As bad and painful as this process is, it’s all they know and it works.  They don’t want to “pretend or win in their fantasies” because they feel they are deceiving them self.  And, they fear that if they don’t get exactly what they are fantasying about, then they will be disappointed.  They would rather be disappointed now and live with the pain rather than be disappointed later.  The pain in their belly is what motivates them to go do stuff they don’t want to do.

The concern person is willing to let go of beliefs that are no longer effective.  They choose to win in their vision and enjoy the process of fulfilling their dreams.  Disappointment is not really part of the process.  They are aware that life is just a series of being “on course” and “off course” as they move through time.  They often stop and enjoy the moment, knowing that it is in these small spaces of smelling a rose, enjoying a sunset or just taking a breath; that some new “never before thought” just might show up in their mind.

Life is a choice.  Peace is a choice.  Worry is a choice.  Concern is a choice.  Which are you choosing?


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