Are you a worry-wart?

Worry is a healthy emotion; it can help you anticipate disasters and make your world crisis-proof. Worry is also Mother Nature’s way of raising the alarm. Imagine a person who has no worries! He or she may not realize that large meteors are already falling from the sky (or more realistically, the household’s electricity account is about to be cut!) before it’s too late.

But while worry is a natural reaction to life’s unpredictability, letting worry take over is dysfunctional. Have you ever met a person with serious anxiety disorders? A person with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), for instance, worries about germs so much, they have trouble going to public places to work or meet friends. Those with paranoid tendencies excessively worry about what other people say, so much so that they’re suspicious of everyone. And parents who worry about their kids’ schedule — even when these “children” are technically adults with minds of their own — can suffer hypertension and sleepless nights needlessly.

Are you ready to manage worry better? If the answer is a resounding “yes!”, then consider the following tips:

Accept when things are “good enough.” Worry is the bane of closet perfectionists. Why worry about not making it to the Top 5 best employees of the year? Would hitting Top 10 or Top 20 be criminal? Why be obsessed about gaining the positive regard of all guests at the party? You need not be liked by everyone — nobody is! Unless we’re talking about issues related to survival, worry is a waste of time. There are better things you can spend your finite energy for!

Make sure all’s in order. Here’s a simple but fool-proof tip to vanquish worry from your life: be more proactive in preventing mishaps and calamities. Are you uncertain whether this month’s salary will fit your budget requirements? Then even before cashing that paycheck, identify how you can save a couple of dollars here and there. Getting hospitalized can lead you to bankruptcy these days? Invest in your health — eat right, know when you’re stressed, and immediately have symptoms checked by a doctor before they escalate. If you’re more mindful in avoiding the causes of worry, you’d find stability that makes worry a non-necessity.

Seek support. Even if the worst should happen, you always have family, friends and co-workers who can give you a lending hand or a listening ear. You can look for institutions that can give you assistance. For example, if being a single parent makes you worry about your children’s future, then go see if social services have programs for single parents in the community. If you’re having trouble getting work because of a disability, then see if there are interest groups who have made placement for Persons with Disabilities an advocacy. Always remember: you’re not alone, and things always look better when you’re part of a community.

Transform worry into concrete action steps. Lastly, don’t let worry cripple you by becoming this debilitating emotion you can’t shake. Instead, let worry be a signal that you need to start coming up with an action plan. Are you worried that the coming storm is too strong for your vulnerable home? Then start outlining the steps to strengthen your home’s structure. Are you worried that your teenager is taking drugs? Then start reflecting on how you can get him or her to open up to you about his troubles. Worry will not change into security unless you do something about it!