The world in your hands

When There’s So Much That Needs Our Care

Learning to Transform Worry, Anxiety, and Overcare into Balanced Care

People and the planet need our care more than ever. For many, it can seem like too much to care for—work, family, health, the political situation, climate change, and more. We can find our care turning to worry, anxiety and ongoing energy drain. So, is it possible to care deeply without depleting our energy? When our care turns into ongoing worry or anxiety, it turns into overcare.

Overcare is easy to fall prey to because it stealthily allows us to feel we are caring more when worry is added. This is not the case. In fact, research has shown that overcare creates stress that can block us from seeing solutions or new approaches to problems, as well as harms our health. But research also shows we can learn to balance and manage our care to prevent and reduce stress and associated health concerns.

Doc Childre, HeartMath founder and co-author of Heart Intelligence, explains in his book, “Overcare (imbalanced care) is a deeply imprinted human tendency that’s handed down through each generation. It’s like an energetic virus that can only be cured through conscious self-adjustment of our emotional-energy expenditures.”

We can learn to balance our care so that our genuine caring intentions don’t dip into stress and energy drain when things we care about don’t go the way we want— health, finances, political or personal issues. Balanced, genuine care generates a connection with our heart that promotes flow in our interactions, along with a clearer view regarding our discernment, choices and actions.

Try This Exercise—Catch and Transform Your Overcare into Balanced Care

Observe yourself for a few days and see how often you can catch overcare occupying your mind and feelings regarding yourself, others or issues. When you find yourself in anxiety or distress from overcare, try this:

  1. While breathing in a relaxed pace, pretend you are breathing through your heart or chest area and imagine calming your mind and emotions with your breath. (Calm emotions help to create a space that enables intuitive access for clearer discernment and choices when evaluating situations.)
  2. Once you’ve calmed your mental and emotional vibrations, identify an issue you are overcaring about. Then, ask your heart feelings, “What would an attitude of balanced care look like in this situation?” After you decide, imagine breathing in that new replacement attitude for a few minutes to anchor it into your system.

Repeat this exercise a few times if the feeling of overcare seems amplified and determined. Approach it with ease, not force. With practice, you become more conscious of when you are overcaring and become increasingly able to take charge of your energy and make adjustments. Don’t be concerned if it doesn’t work every time. Nothing does when you are attempting to make changes in habits that are generations deep. Treat it the way golfers get better—keep swinging.

†Adapted from the Heart Intelligence Book.