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April 4, 2007

Getting Rid of Worry Lines ... Without Plastic Surgery!

“Worry a little bit every day and in a lifetime you will lose a couple of years. If something is wrong, fix it. But train yourself not to worry. Worry never fixes anything.” –Mary Hemingway

There are a lot of perfectly good reasons not to worry: it doesn’t help; it’s bad for your health; it turns you into a boring person. But let’s talk about the one we have to confront every day: the face in the mirror.

Here’s what we do when we worry (check all that apply and add your own): ¨ draw our eyebrows together; ¨ frown; ¨ squint our eyes; ¨ purse our lips; ¨ lift our shoulders; ¨ chew on our nails, fingers, lips, cheeks, hair; ¨ twitch; ¨ lose sleep; ¨ get headaches; ¨ experience digestive problems; ¨ eat poorly; ¨ self-medicate with food, alcohol, or drugs; ¨ suspend healthy habits, like exercise; ¨ stop laughing; ¨ communicate poorly; ¨ look awful; ¨ look older than we are; ¨ other.

Every one of those actions shows on our face the frown lines, the deep groove between the eyebrows, the bags under the eyes, the bad color—and every minute we spend worrying makes us look worse. Millions of dollars are spent every year on surgery, Botox, and a host of other treatments that try to take the worry off our faces. But those treatments just deal with the symptoms, not the cause.

Worry is a bad habit. It’s a form of stress. What it should be is a little red flag that pops up and says, Here’s something I have to deal with. But we tend to get stuck on the worry and postpone the action; instead of dealing with our concerns and moving on, we wear our worry. Just as bad: worry puts our focus on the negative and, by the principle of attraction, makes us more attractive to people and situations that compound our worry! Ultimately bringing to us a future we do not want. What we think about expands.

But, you say, there are plenty of real things to worry about: world peace; global warming; health; relationships; children; parents; money; making and meeting goals; the market; listings; clients; competitors; change; aging; house; car; retirement; times I wasn’t completely honest with myself or someone else; et cetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Actually, that looks like a ambitious To Do list, concerns that deserve your attention, your focus, your positive energy, and your creativity. You can actually turn your worries into achievements and take the worry off your face. Here are some suggestions for getting rid of the worry habit:
  1. Focus on the positive possibility. Keep your eye on the good things that can happen especially the good things that are more likely to happen than winning the lottery! Make a list of ten positive things that would make you feel better—things like a phone call from (or to) an old friend, an afternoon at the movies, a referral from (or to) an agent in another office or another city, writing some Thank You notes, etc.
  2. Embrace change. Change happens whether you want it or not. You can’t stop it, so stop worrying about it. Just say Yes to change. For inspiration, here two great books on the subject: Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers, and Who Moved My Cheese by Ken Blanchard.
  3. Add structure. Disorganization is the source of many worries: “I can't find it,” “I'm confused,” or “I don’t know what to do next.” The structure provides security and enhances self-confidence. You may think that structure means loss of freedom or loss of creativity. Quite the contrary: you have more freedom when the structure is in place. The structure is your home base; whatever you do, you always have that solid base to return to. It may mean something as simple as using a daily To-Do List or an organizational chart for your business that provides visible structure and useful information to everyone in the organization.
  4. Get the facts. Confusion and ignorance are causes of worry. It has been said that half the worry in the world is caused by people trying to make decisions before they have sufficient knowledge on which to base a decision. Replace time that would have been spent on worry with a search for wisdom.
  5. Seek simplicity. We’ve all heard the expression KISS: Keep It Simple, Silly. Simplicity means singleness of purpose. Simplicity creates trust. Trust eliminates worry.
  6. Think, talk and act cheerfully. Author John Maxwell says, “Your attitude determines your altitude.” It is very difficult to worry if you are cheerful, saying positive words, helping others, and just being grateful for all you have.
  7. Focus on purpose. Focus on your activities and your life’s purpose, not on “What’s going to happen if.…” Your life’s purpose is the Why behind your goal. Align your goals with your values and life’s purpose. This will cause you to focus on action instead of worry. Achieving meaningful results in every aspect of your life reduces worry.
  8. Take action. Crowd worries out of your mind by keeping busy. Read a good book. Work out at the gym. Take a walk. Start a new project. When someone asked Winston Churchill if he was worried about his tremendous responsibilities during WWII, he replied, “I'm too busy. I have no time to worry.”
  9. Be a person of integrity. If you are living a life of integrity, you eliminate a source of worry. People worry about getting caught doing something bad. They don’t mind being caught doing good.
  10. Pray. Whatever your spiritual beliefs, prayer is a huge eliminator of worry. You may be great at multi-tasking, but you’ll find it impossible to pray and worry at the same time. Prayer transfers your personal and professional burdens to God. It doesn’t mean that you abdicate your responsibility; prayer simply means that you’re not handling life completely on your own. Many people resort to prayer only after everything else has failed. Prayer works best when put into action before a need exists.
Give it a try. The worry lines you lose could be your own!

“There are two days about which nobody should ever worry, and these are yesterday and tomorrow.” –Robert Jones Burdette

(Patti Kouri, GRI, Accelerated Performance Coaching, is a Master Coach who works closely with executives, managers, and real estate sales professionals. She offers dynamic and innovative techniques to help people achieve their goals and specializes in breaking through limits. “I work with people with big visions for themselves who want to make a dream into reality or create more meaning in their lives.”) https://www.linkedin.com/in/pattikouri/

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