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The Worry Jar is a technique for people, especially children, who suffer from worry and anxiety. It helps kids identify, name and release their worries.
It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who knows me to find out that I am a chronic worrier.
I have been since I was little.
The dentist was something that I [along with tons of other kids] dreaded and the reason was mostly because I didn’t want the dentist to pull any of my loose teeth out. I pulled all my own teeth out [except 1 that my teacher tricked me into pulling out for me], and I didn’t want the dentist to take over.
This fear of the dentist, coupled with my worrying, created a horrible combination that started in about June of each summer, and lasted until my August dental appointment. I would worry constantly, and this would hinder the enjoyment of the main two months of my summer!
Looking back 15 years later, obviously I want to slap myself silly for letting anything get in the way of my summers. But back then, I was really traumatized.
One year, my mom had a brilliant idea. I doubt she made it up herself; maybe she read about it or heard it on Oprah. Who knows… but the advice was brilliant.
The Worry Jar was born.
The idea behind the Worry Jar is simple:
1. Write your worries down on little slips of paper and put them into a jar or container.
2. Come back whenever you think about it [not 10 minutes later; I’m talking more like a month or something] and look through your worries again. Chances are, there will be several slip of paper that have come and passed, and you are still alive, still healthy, and your worries never amounted to anything.
3. So then you can rip them up and throw them away!
4. Repeat with new worries.
This worked for me on so many things over the years; things all the way from “I’m worried about my math test,” “I’m worried about dancing at State for dance,” and “I’m worried I’ll never get a boyfriend,” [yes, that one graced my worry jar once or ten times…], to “I’m worried about getting into the Nursing program,” and “I’m worried about Matt going to Iraq.” There are still pieces of paper in my worry jar, and I’m curious to see what I can rip up when I check it next.
There is something therapeutic about writing your worries down and visually confirming them.
Writing them down doesn’t make them go away necessarily, but it seems like by writing them down, you take them from your mind and heart and put them on the paper, where they seem to haunt/taunt you less. At least that’s how it works for me. I will probably have my worry jar in use until I’m 105.
Go ahead and give it a try if you are prone to excessive worrying like me. Even if you are a casual worrier, it can help to ease the stress in your heart and mind about whatever is causing you to worry.
You can use any type of jar or container you have on hand, but here are a couple great ideas:
You can add ribbon or twine to the jar to make it unique, and paint or stain the wooden box to customize it. You can also add a Worry Jar tag or label to the jar or box if you’d like.
Then simply write your worries on little slips of paper, fold them up and drop them inside.
If you combine the worry jar with the quote below, and you’ve got a combo capable of making your days SO MUCH BRIGHTER.
“Worry about nothing; pray about everything.”
If you try the worry jar, let me know how it works for you.
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