Okay, so “Gran Torino” is fresh in my mind. Yeah, the swearing was a bit over the top but I loved the movie. So I’m tying it in a little bit to my writing about worrying.
In one scene, the young priest exhorts Clint Eastwood’s character, Walt, that he was more familiar with dying than he was with living. And of course the mean gruff exterior testified to the fact that this man was not a happy camper. Indeed, by his own confession….he was living in the past and daily reliving the horrors of war.
I contend that when we are worrying, we’re doing the same thing. A person who’s knotted up in worry isn’t addressing their future in any sort of positive way. (Rather, it’s through the bleak lens of a worse case scenario outlook.) And worry often contains a healthy dose of looking at the past and living in regret.
It made “Walt” in the movie crabby and I know for me….it makes me crabby too. It’s a wicked brew that will suck the life out of anyone.
That’s not how I want to spend my days so I use a little technique that I gleaned from a magazine article years ago. I even keep it in my wallet as a reminder. It’s called, ” Best/Worst Analysis”. And it goes like this.
When you’re fretting over a decision (parents are especially good at this) ask yourself these four questions:
- What is the best thing that can happen if I do this?
- What is the worst thing that can happen if I do this?
- What is the best thing that can happen if I don’t do it?
- What is the worst thing that can happen if I don’t do it?
Now Lord knows, there’s a zillion different things I could pose as an example given all the negative headlines, but let’s talk about a parent fretting over putting their hyperactive boy on medication. Here’s the questions again:
- What is the best thing that could happen if I put Johnny on medication? It could change his life and bring new peace in the home.
- What is the worst thing that can happen if I do this? The medication costs could kill the budget and the side effects could be really awful even though the doc says side effects usually aren’t too bothersome.
- What is the best thing if I DON’T do it? No extra drain on the budget with medication and necessary follow up visits. Don’t have to worry about side effects. Don’t have to deal with a “Label” in my kid’s medical records.
- Worst thing if I DON’T do it? Our family strain worsens. Johnny’s grades are affected and he may not pass the 5th grade.
Now, those things are just off the top of my head. (And my head isn’t even fully caffeinated yet.) But you get the idea.
This is a little more involved that one of Carnegie’s techiniques which is basically to write down two questions:
- What is bothering me?
- What are possible solutions?
I think the key for whatever techinque one uses, it’s important to WRITE IT OUT. This is not just the writer in me talking. I think there is something profound that takes place when one writes out what’s troubling them and the possible solutions.
And of course the primary key behind this is to make the decision to not worry….because worry is what causes stress. In our culture, “being stressed” is accepted as the norm. Sort of the way Dave Ramsey says debt is normal….be weird, he adds.
So yeah. Be weird. Turn off the TV and the negative talk…go watch some birds. And bring a notebook and pen with you so you work through those pesky questions.
Life really is too short. (Oh my! That’s a worrisome thought!) ;
Filed under: ADD/ADHD, Stress and worry | Tagged: Best/Worst Analysis, should I put my kid on medication, stress, worry | Leave a Comment »