Runaway Snowball

My husband often says that if we had a million dollars in the bank, I would worry about finances. I have honed worry to an art form. I do it better than most people because I practice my craft daily. Multiple times a day.

I have spent the better part of my adult life worrying about things that historically never happened. A recent example: I pulled out of my neighborhood and my car’s transmission slipped briefly. That single incident spawned a litany of questions. What if my transmission is failing? What will I do if I get trapped somewhere far from home? Should I take it to the shop? How will I get it there? If I do put it in the shop, how will I get to my doctor’s appointment the next day? How will I get the kids from school? Who will take me to pick it up when it’s fixed? What if it costs several thousand dollars? Literally, within a matter of seconds, I had conjured up every conceivable possibility.

As is usually the case in these situations, I worried prematurely. The transmission was serviced, the cost was minimal and the mechanic found nothing wrong with the car. No one got stranded or missed appointments. Everything worked out fine. As it historically does.

So when I discovered a book called “Women Who Worry Too Much”, I was convinced it was written by an author who had a nanny-cam in my house. She theorizes that many women have spent so much time in “worry spirals” (like the one above) that they no longer even realize how prevalent their worry is. She compares worry to a snowball rolling down a mountain, gaining size and momentum the farther it rolls. If that’s true, she theorizes, the earlier you stop the snowball, the less damage it will do. Recognizing your worry can help you stop the snowball.

If you struggle with worry, I recommend the book. It may help you recognize your own worry spirals, and help you get control of the snowball before it wreaks too much havoc in your life. I still find myself practicing at worry daily, but I do find that my “worry spirals” are getting shorter. I am doing my level best to recognize the snowballs and control their impact in my life.

If you are among the enlightened community who understands that worrying accomplishes nothing, kudos to you. Ironically, I realized many years ago that I would do well to emulate my children where worry is concerned. They do not lie awake worrying about the mortgage payment, grocery shopping or home repairs. They trust that their needs will be met and they focus only on today. My faith teaches me that I should do the same. Perhaps I have practiced the wrong skill all these years.

“Worry is as useless as a handle on a snowball.” ~ Mitzi Chandler

5 thoughts on “Runaway Snowball

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  1. I have the exact same issue. Somehow, my worrying seems to have declined since we left Fort Bragg…not sure of the exact correlation, but I think it has something to do with my close proximity to the beach. Brad always says, “There’s no point in worrying if it’s out of your control.” Easy for him to say since I pay all the bills and worry about all the day-to-day issues. Great write-up…I’ll have to pick-up that book.

  2. Funny that you say that, Elaine. We’ve noticed that we take a little more time to “smell the roses” now that we live near the ocean as well… And though Brad is right, for some of us it isn’t as easy as just “turning off the worry.” I sure wish it was. Thanks for commenting… 🙂

  3. I really do think close proximity to sea & sand makes a difference. I still worry about things but not nearly as much or as long AND I’m quicker to just say to myself, “Oh, just knock it off & take it as it comes!”

  4. I AM a worrier and have been for years; I think part of that resulted from my upbringing and husbands abrupt deployment shortly after our marriage in 1990. It has literally taken me years to re-find who I really am. And with that, it is an everyday struggle for me not to worry. My life, prior to marriage, was always about sports, jumping ramps, collecting baseball/basketball cards and memorabilia and playing music. Marriage and then surprise deployment took me to a new realm. It took me years to realize I was worrying about things that couldn’t be changed, didn’t need changing, or even things that could be changed with some effort put behind them. Like your book, I had to find those “snowballs”. So much happier too 🙂

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