The Worry Tree


I’m a worrier.  Always have been since I was a child.  I’d worry about my schoolwork, passing tests, my health, anything and everything.  I still worry about things and I know it’s a waste of energy.  These types of bad thoughts can sometimes get blown out of proportion so that they interfere with your creativity and stop you from getting things done.  You need to put them into perspective.

The song I’m So Worried by Terry Jones of Monty Python fame sums up this type of worrying.  It’s just ridiculous and you will always find something to worry about if you let everything get to you.  Although I did have a bag damaged by the “baggage retrieval system they’ve got at Heathrow” so maybe that is something to worry about.

As a form of self-therapy I recently created a “Worry Tree.”  I figured I needed more than worry beads to relax me.  Using some pruned branches from our Magnolia, I hung up an object every time I felt anxious about something.  I even made some beaded ornaments from those left from broken necklaces.  By looking for or making something to hang on the tree I find that I completely forget about what is causing my worry and I can relax. This type of diversionary method works because I’m involving myself in a meditative process.

People have attached things to trees for millennia to ease their worries and ask for help. For example in Ireland, Cornwall and Scotland trees are often associated with sacred wells and petitioners attach pieces of cloth and other objects as a prayer or supplication. They are called Clootie wells in Scotland and cloutie wells in Cornwall.

To externalize your worries by attaching a symbolic or written item to a tree can be an effective remedy.  Then you can let it be.  I only wish my worry tree was a living one, although this would be a bit difficult to fit on my desktop.   My worries have now been turned into something fun and creative that makes me feel happy.

On a positive note, being worried has definitely inspired songwriters.  There is The Worried Man Blues, a traditional song that has been recorded by Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger and many others.  I like Johnny Cash’s version.

Probably the most famous song that shows how stupid it is to worry is Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy .  It deservedly has had millions of views on You Tube.  I love to sing and play this on my ukulele and it always makes me feel good.  A less well-known song of the same title with a similar theme is by Australia’s Guy Sebastian.

Instead of worrying find something that you can do to ease these annoying and distracting thoughts.  Maybe a “Worry Tree” will work for you as well.