Sometimes it feels like worry is my only friend

I am completely enamored with Ray LaMontagne and every time I feel like I'm going to have a bad day or feel the least bit gloomy, I listen to some Ray and soothe myself. This is one of my favorites of his for so many reasons, but I think mostly there's so much truth to it. 

Oh, trouble, trouble, trouble, trouble

Feels like every time I get back on my feet 
she come around and knock me down again
Oh, worry, worry, worry, worry
Sometimes I swear it feels like this worry is my only friend
We'll I've been saved...
by a woman

I have a confession to make. I fret. We think of fretting as worrying but looking at the origin of the word shows its danger. According to Webster's, fret derives from Old English fretan, "to devour". If you have ever worried intensely about something, ever fretted or let something gnaw at you, then you know the accuracy of this definition. 

I learned to worry honestly from women in my family. My mother should become a risk assessor because she can drum up the strangest possibilities to worry about and concern herself with. There are times when I hear myself echoing similar scenarios and I want to slap myself.

Let's face it, in 2012 there's a lot to be worried about. I'm incredibly concerned about the tenor of rhetoric, politics, and media in this country. Not to mention the rising gas prices, the economy and my own unknown future. But the thing is, our futures are always unknown. A friend of mine used to say, "You could get hit by a bus tomorrow; what's the point in worrying." I suppose there's something to that.

I don't want to worry. I don't want my energy to be spent on imagining doom and gloom and scenarios. It's too draining. I want to believe things will work out. I want to have faith in the universe, our lawmakers, myself. But it's a constant battle to let go of worry, to stop allowing it to gnaw at me.

I read an editorial in the latest O magazine that suggested distracting one's self from worry by asking: 

What would I do if an elk walked into the room? 


I think this is fantastic and I'm going to employ this strategy next week as I try to cram the million things I need to get done before we leave for our trip to Virginia into the tiny week ahead. This will help me tend to myself and to the tasks at hand in a way that is much more productive. Because if I've learned anything about worrying, I've learned that nothing paralyzes you more and prevents you from enjoying the moment than worry and fear. 

How are you tending to yourself? Do you have any anti-worry strategies? Please, share them with me.