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Worry Vs. Anxiety

That the birds of worry and care fly over your head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.”

Chinese Proverb

Although the terms worry and anxiety are often used interchangeably, they’re not the same thing.

As it says in the quote above, worry is the bird of thought that flies over your head, or through your mind, and keeps on going.  Anxiety is the bird of worry that builds a nest in your hair, then settles in to hatch generation after generation of anxious thoughts in there. 

Worry is usually short term and focused on something specific you’re dealing with in the present. You worry about paying your bills, or getting your tooth fixed. While worry can be unpleasant, it’s usually easily controlled and doesn’t interfere much with your life. And sometimes worry can actually be useful in helping you problem-solve or nudging you into taking an action like calling the dentist or looking at your cash flow.

On the other hand, anxiety is all about the future and what might happen. It’s not as specific as worry. In fact, you may not even know what you’re anxious about, you just have that achy sense of dread that something awful is going to happen to you, and there’s nothing you can do about it. 

Worry is a response to our daily lives. Anxiety is the result of the frightening thoughts and scenarios you play over and over in your brain, imagining the worst, scaring yourself into sleepless nights, inaction and long-term regret. While worry happens in our heads, anxiety can turn up in our bodies and cause a long list of physical symptoms. Anxiety is that backache you wake up with every Monday morning. It’s the twitch in your eye, the fearful feeling that keeps you from going to your reunion or applying for that job. 

Worry is a perfectly normal part of the human experience. And, the good news is, we don’t have to worry about worrying. Anxiety is a different matter all together. 

Anxiety can really make you miserable, and if those birds of worry have nested in your hair, they may be limiting your life. 

Take a moment and consider how anxiety might be holding you back from living your best life. 

Now, imagine what would your life might look like if you could empty that nest in your hair, and let those birds of anxiety fly free.

Is there a thought or two nesting there that you’d like to let go?

Go ahead. Pick one of those scary thoughts. Now tell that thought it needs to find a new home. Then watch as it spreads it wings and takes to the sky. Keep watching until it disappears from view. Then take a breath. 

What’s changed? Is it quieter without that thought? More peaceful?

How do you feel? Lighter? Stronger? 

What if you could let all those anxious thoughts go, one by one until you had an empty nest?

Why not give it a try?



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