I have a confession to make: I am a recovered worrier. I used to fret about things I couldn’t control, things I could control, even things that didn’t concern me. Can you relate?
Then one day in college, I missed half of a HUGE presentation for my senior project: I overslept my alarm (hello worst scenario, ever!) I arrived in the classroom a panicked and disheveled mess thinking: how will I ever fix this? It turns out over-sleeping the presentation inspired my group members to get creative, and in the end we got an A- for the project and our improvisational skills.
I realized that the stuff I worried about? It rarely happened. And when it did come to pass? It always seemed to work out, especially with options I never even considered. So why was I worrying when it was getting me nowhere?These are some of the thoughts that now keep me off worry control and help me move forward:
:: Don’t make worrying a sport; it’s often such a familiar and habitual behavior that we don’t even realize we’re doing it. Consider other options: If you are always in the worst-possible-scenario mindset, you can’t be open to the other great possibilities that could arise.
:: That projection of what might happen holds you emotionally hostage. You’re not a better friend, partner or parent if you worry more. Are you feeling concerned about someone? Worry dissipates when we give attention and love to the situation. Let them know, send them good vibes, come up with helpful solutions. Churning over ‘what if’ scenarios isn’t helpful to anyone. Take action to improve the situation.
:: Pay attention to what is happening in your life. Worrying can be a place to escape–check in with yourself and claim responsibility for what you’re avoiding. The fallacy of worry is that it’s productive, but all it does is rob us of peace. Make an effort to move forward by leaving the past and future where they are.
:: Having faith can provide great relief from worry. Nature, God, Buddha, whatever your dharma is, know that you are being divinely guided.
Action cures worry.
Next time you start wringing those hands and your mind begins to race with possible harrowing scenarios, make a choice to either do something to quell your anxiety or let go of what you can’t control. Understand that these fluctuations are just the ebb and flow of this beautiful life. How can you ride the wave?
That senior project cemented for me that worrying was a waste of time because we can’t possibly know or understand all of the outcomes that are possible. And I’m thankful for that.
What would your life be like if you worried less and acted more?
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