From Worrier to Warrior in 2 Easy Steps

Ready? #1. Change the O in Worrier to an A. #2. Change the E to O.  WOARRIEOR.  Okay, that was a little simplistic. But there are ways to combat worrying and to empower yourself that are almost as easy. I come from a long line of worriers. Generations in my family have fretted about monumental issues and trivial matters with the same fervor. And I’ve come to realize that what “they” say is true. “They” say that 85% of what people worry about never materializes. In hindsight, I can attest to the fact that that statistic is probably low. It’s likely closer to 95% than 85%. And even if something within that 5% did happen, it was usually not as bad as I imagined.

Those of us who worry try to make the argument for what I call productive worrying. For example, when I was in high school, I worried about the grade I would get on a history test, so I spent many extra hours studying. And consequently, I aced the test. Of course, I now realize that I could have done the extra studying without the added emotional stress of worrying, and the outcome would have been the same. But would I have done the studying at all if I hadn’t been worrying? I’m not sure.

Here’s one step that has helped me go from worrier to warrior:  faith. It’s not simply an acknowledgment in a higher power, but a true belief in my inner core that everything will be okay.  This is something I’ve had to nurture over the years. It hasn’t come easily; I still waiver, and I still worry sometimes. But I’m getting better at keeping worry at bay. Faith is not just throwing your hands up and saying “Somebody Up There take care of me,” doing nothing and waiting around in some sort of entitled haze. You have to do your part and work to make things good in your life, but at the same time believe things will keep getting better.

The second step is to empower yourself. It’s okay to worry a little. Just not all the time.  Here’s an exercise that I learned during one of my self-help Googling rampages–and it works:  Schedule a time for worrying. Say, fifteen minutes in the middle of the day.  Allow yourself to be concerned about whatever bothers you, obsess, tie yourself up in mental knots–but only for 15 minutes. Set a timer if you have to. But then here’s the empowerment step. You have to spend a few minutes at the end of your session mapping out a plan of attack to vanquish each of the targets that you are worrying about (here’s where the warrior part kicks in).

For example: still seeking a job? Try a new approach to networking. Join a church or temple to meet new people, sign up for a book club at your local library, or volunteer at a nearby charity. Helpful contacts can come from anywhere in the community. Worried about the safety of your children when they are out without you? Talk with them without scaring them. Arm them with knowledge  to handle different scenarios, however far fetched they might seem. Such as, never ever get in a stranger’s car even if he has a gun. Run (serpentine!  serpentine!) and scream. The odds of getting shot are far less (10% according to some police officers) than the bad things that can happen if assailant gets you captive in a vehicle. Okay, sharing a little too much of one of my worries…

Worry is the enemy. It wastes time and destroys energy. The key is fighting back. Have faith that all will be well. Remind yourself of this everyday–out loud if you have to. Empower yourself to rise above the worrying and find solutions. You don’t have to go it alone. That’s what family and friends are for… and sometimes even helpful strangers.  From worrier to warrior. Believe.


  1. Trace says:

    It’s not a 12 step program? Just 2. Hmmm. You really have gotten much better about worrying over the years. 🙂

  2. Barbara says:

    Always find value in what you write — and can always relate as well 🙂 Thanks, Donna.

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