Don’t Get Stuck in a Rocking Chair – Focus on Emotional Balance

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Worrying is like sitting in a rocking chair; It gives you something to do, but it doesn’t get you anywhere. – English Proverb

I have to constantly remind myself of this deeply wise proverb. I worry about my daughter as she starts her senior year of high school and starts her applications to colleges. Is she ready to leave home? I worry about finances and my investments. Is a recession in the near future? I worry about the health of my family. Should I be doing more to help them eat better and exercise more?

I know it’s normal to worry. But if I get stuck in these negative thoughts and emotions, it comes at a cost – a cost to my well-being, my quality of life, and my ability to be a good parent and partner.

I know the solution is NOT about ignoring these problems or avoiding the feelings they bring. That’s not helpful or healthy either. I’ve learned that our frustration and stress can be great motivators for us to take action to make things better, to fix problems, and to right wrongs. The trick is to recognize when we can channel this negative energy into making a difference vs. when we’re simply wasting our energy and our life on things we can’t control.

Instead, my goal is to find a better, healthier, more enjoyable balance. It’s about using my negative emotions, getting the information they’re trying to tell me, and then moving on without getting stuck.

Here is a process that I find helpful.

  • Tune in and notice my thoughts and emotions
  • Write them down and get clear on what they are
  • Decide what is in my control and what isn’t
  • Recognize and let go of those things I can’t control
  • Consider how to channel negative emotions into productive action

Sometimes it’s valuable to recruit the help of a friend or family member. I was recently sharing a situation that was making me worried with my daughter. Her thoughts and perspective made it easier to work through theses steps.

Try tuning in and experimenting with the bulleted points above to help you achieve a better balance of your emotional energy for a higher quality of life. Don’t waste your days stuck in a rocking chair!

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