Worry often gives small things a big shadow
Perhaps its some sort of defense mechanism. The idea that unpleasant circumstances will befall us in some way. In this regard, worrying may be useful as it can give us the necessary motivation to do something about an impending danger.
However, when our minds turn to ‘what ifs?’ and ‘worst case scenarios’ it can be a distressing experience. It can drain us of our energy and disrupt our emotions. It can cause us to lose focus and hinder our daily activities.
Health sciences has proved that excess worrying can lead to insomnia, stomach ulcers, decreased concentration, loss of libido (that sucks) and even eventual depression.
The main root of all worry is due to uncertainty in the future. An anticipation of unpleasant events that is out of our control. Worrying might allow us to create a certain level of security, as though we are in control. But the reality is quite the opposite.
Our thoughts are sometimes the only thing in this world that we can control. Worrying makes us lose control of our thoughts. Worrying allows our thoughts run rampant in our minds creating a mindset of anxiety and fear. When we allow ourselves to worry it means we are choosing to look at the possible NEGATIVE outcomes of a situation rather than the POSITIVE ones. We believe we will get dealt the worst of the scenarios rather than the best of them.
Sometimes we come up with excuses for ourselves for our habitual way of worrying like “I’m simply being rational”, “I’m trying to be prepared”, “Perhaps I’ll find a solution” <insert your own reasons here>. However these excuses does save our mind from the distress.
I want you to take a moment right now and think back throughout your life during the times you spent worrying. All those times you went pale faced and breathed a little harder worrying about something that may occur. For me, those situations were about whether I passed my examinations, if people thought badly of me if I said or did a certain thing that I cared about, if I’ll ever get a job and if somebody will ever love me for me. When I worried about those scenarios I pictured all the worst possible outcomes. Failure, rejection, loneliness and depression.
NONE of those worries became a reality.
All that time I wasted worrying about the future and none of it came to fruition. I gained nothing valuable from the time I spent worrying. Only grief. And we as human beings must always know that time is one of our most valuable commodities.
And therein lies one of the many solutions that I have recently learnt to use to control my worrying.
SET A WORRY SCHEDULE
Set a time for yourself during the day when you know you will have some time yourself. Set aside 20-30 minutes and know that in THAT period of time, you will worry about whatever is troubling you. Not any time before or after that. If during the day you feel a worrying thought bubbling in your sub-conscience. Write it down and remind yourself that you will worry about it later a
t the specified time. When the time comes, let you mind worry, allow yourself to think and over-analyze as much as you
desire but ONLY for that specified time. Afterwards, go about your day as you normally would.
Do this for a while and you will realize you have more control over your worries than you think and even arriving at the time you may even find you have less to worry about than you may think.
REALIZE WHAT YOU CAN AND CANNOT CONTROL
When there is something worrying you. Look at it closely for a moment and recognize whether it is something you can alter or not. Worrying you may not pass exam before you’ve written it, is fine. This worry may motivate you to study diligently in order to prevent failure. However the worrying must lead straight to problem solving. Brainstorm various ideas and once you have a plan of action, start implementing the steps to solve your troubles.
On the opposite side of the coin, worrying that you may not pass an exam after its written is no good. The exam is over. You cannot control what happens next. Its out of your hands. There is NOTHING you can do.
Use your best judgement when determining what you can and cannot control. The things you cannot control or alter require you to alter your own thoughts and attitude towards it.
CHOOSE YOUR THOUGHTS CAREFULLY
I am a proud advocate that our thoughts and attitude control the reality around us. It is one thing that we as human beings can ALWAYS control. Choose to focus on the good you have now and all the positive outcomes that can occur rather than the negative ones. Focus on your strengths rather than your weakness. Start expecting good things rather than expecting the worst because you are a good person and DESERVE
good things in your life.
LEARN TO ACCEPT UNCERTAINTY
In life there are no garantees . Not all things are in our control. We must be willing to give up our control and trust that we are strong and capable enough to handle whatever comes our way. Consider your track record. You’ve survived to this day, so why should you fear the future? Expect good things instead of bad. Why would you worry about the future if you cannot predict it?
Practice acceptance of uncertainty and you will find more peace in your mind.
RETURN TO THE PRESENT
There is only one point in time that we can live in and that is the present. The past is behind us and future is still arriving. Fear and worry does not exist in the present, only in the future. It is an anticipation that the future holds something foreboding and we allow it to affect us in the present moment in a myriad of ways. We cannot allow our minds to live in the future which does not even exist. We can only live in the now. When you feel that worries are overpowering your thoughts, be still for a moment and look around you and acknowledge everything you have in the moment. Appreciate the NOW. Do not let the present slip away while you brood on the future.
IF ALL ELSE FAILS
Sleep, eat, play video games, read a good book, watch a good movie, lie on the beach, talk to someone etc. etc. The list is endless. Anything to distract your mind from the worries to at least temporarily alleviate the distress from your mind. Remember, time spent doing the things you enjoy is not time wasted at all.
So just sing the immortal words of Bob Marley, “Don’t worry about a thing, cause every little thing is gonna be alright”.