|After listening to me spin out long enough, Kate, my therapist, said, “There’s a difference between problem solving and worrying. Did you hear just now when you went from problem solving – which you were doing really well – to worrying?”
I knew exactly the point she was talking about because it was the moment my body went from calm and in control to agitated and leaning out of my chair. But I argued the point because you can’t afford to ignore potential problems. “I was just anticipating the precedent I could be setting and where I’d be then. It wouldn’t be smart not to anticipate possible ramifications down the line.”
But Kate’s not having it. “Problem solving asks, ‘What is it I can do?’ while worrying asks, ‘What if this happens?’” She makes a good point, which she builds on. “You solved the immediate problem as best it could possibly be solved and you will solve the next one. But if you are worried about what might happen down the line, then we can problem solve that right now.” She gets me started. “’If this should happen as a result, then I will…..’”
As this night-and-day distinction between problem solving and worrying sinks in, I realize what a game changer this is. It feels markedly different when you’re in problem solving mode as opposed to worry mode because you go from being a passive bystander to an active participator. In other words, you feel a measure of control when you’re productively engaged not standing on the sidelines imagining what can happen to you.
Especially in these times, mind hygiene is about as important as hand hygiene. And for me, the thing I love almost as much as therapy is being able to spread around the intel, which, you may have noticed, I do as much as I can. But the wonderful thing for all of us here at Northern Light is our EAP provides counseling services to all employees so you can get your own!