Indulging In Worry

coaching feelings Oct 04, 2022
Physician indulging in worry.  Worried doctor.




“Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.” 

—Eckhart Tolle




I have always been a worrier.  When I was eight years old, I received a set of Guatemalan worry dolls.  They were tiny woven figures that fit in a small, wooden decorative box.  Before going to bed, you give one worry to each doll, then place them under your pillow.  The figures would then take on the burden of your fears.  A barrel of Guatemalan worry dolls under my pillow probably couldn’t have housed the immense worry I carried.



It turns out that worry is an indulgent emotion.  An indulgent emotion is one that does not get you the results you want.  It may feel normal or reasonable, or even protective.  Worry feels familiar and comfortable.  It might even provide some relief from the unexpected.  But, it doesn’t serve you or move you forward.  It also does not allow you to step into your truest, most authentic self.  I thought worry was essential and matter-of-fact, but it turns out that worry only pretends to be necessary. 



For those unfamiliar with coaching, one of the essential tools is examining thoughts.  I’ve heard it said that the mind produces thoughts like the mouth produces saliva.  The mind is churning out 40,000 – 60,000 thoughts per day, equating to about 1-2 thoughts per waking second.  And like the hum of a refrigerator, it all happens in the background.  In all likelihood, you don’t even notice it unless you are paying close attention. 



Coaching also teaches us that feelings are derived from our thoughts.  Why is this important?  Because when we are worried, it is a direct result of our thinking.  Worry most commonly happens when we are spinning in thoughts of what the future might hold. 

  • What happens if I say ‘no?’
  • Will my daughter succeed at completing her new gymnastics move?
  • Will my son make friends in kindergarten?
  • Who will take care of my family if something happens to me?
  • How will I get through the next 20 years of my career?
  • What if I retire early and can’t support my family?
  • Did I offend them when I said I like NY-style and Chicago-style pizza?



These thoughts feel important, and the inherent worry feels essential.  I couldn’t possibly rely on the knowledge that my son makes a friend everywhere he goes.  I find comfort in my concern.  It feels so comfortable that I spend too much time fantasizing about all the potentially horrible scenarios.  The worry pretends to protect me, but in reality, it doesn’t allow me to lean into the fact that things will happen the way they will happen.  It also distracts me from focusing on the things that require my immediate attention.  For example, if I could stay focused on my charting, I could get home a little early and hear first-hand about my son’s day and all of his new friends. 



When we allow worry to prevail, we typically ignore the present for the past or the future.  We worry about something we said or how things might be in the future and completely miss out on the moment-at-hand.  The present moment is truly the only moment we have.  All the thoughts about the past and the future won’t bring back the present moment you are missing while your mind is focused elsewhere.  What’s worse, ruminating on the past or future creates discontent, anxiety, depression, and, you guessed it, more worry.



Worry is just one of many indulgent emotions. 

  • Boredom
  • Self-pity
  • Discomfort
  • Comfort
  • Doubt
  • Overwhelm
  • Confusion



When we recognize indulgent emotions and the thoughts that cause them, we allow ourselves to regain control and take back the present moment.  This allows us to be fully present and savor every moment, and it also permits us to live more authentically.  In my previous example, I don’t just worry about my son’s well-being.  I get to be physically, mentally, and emotionally present for him, no matter how things happen.  My dad goal is not to worry about my kids.  It is to be fully present and available to them.  Worry doesn’t get me there.  However, focusing on the present moment does.



I’ve heard it said that:

Suffering = pain x resistance


So much of what we worry about never happens.  It just creates more resistance in our daily life, wastes energy, and creates more suffering.  While I’m not entirely sure what a life without worry looks like, I am learning to focus on the present moment and less on the past and the future.  The past cannot be changed, and the future will be whatever it will be, but the present is here for the taking, and I’m fully ready to embrace it.




Are you indulging in emotions that are not serving you?  Do you spend too much time in the past or the future but miss out on the present moments?  Are you ready to step into your truest, most authentic self?




I want to invite you to check out my FREE TRAINING.  Click here to get: How Busy Physicians Can Stop Trying To Escape Medicine And Start Living Their Best Life Today.

This training will teach you the five essential tools physicians need to stop feeling disconnected, overwhelmed, and trapped in medicine.  You will also learn how to discover what you truly want in life and how to get it.  



PS.  I get a lot of inspiration from music lyrics.  Many people use inspiring quotes (and I do, too), but music really speaks to me.  I hope you find inspiration in the songs too.


Jason Mraz - The Remedy (I Won’t Worry)



Click here to read the lyrics.



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