Worry… God! I hate this word.
Worrying is crippling, boring and lifeless. I grew up in a family of multiple chronic worriers, and I know how bad things can go with it. You let negative thoughts have the best of you.
You worry about anything and everything, big and small, rational and irrational, and you turn yourself into a mental masochist who rarely feels in peace. (pieces maybe, not peace).
No one is born a worrier —science hasn`t proven it yet— and depending on how you deal with worries, you can either turn yourself into a chronic worrier or you can get better at tolerating the worst versions of your thoughts.
It depends on your perseverance and good habits. So, I made you a list of the top five habits, and mindset shifts, that you can use today to overcome excessive worrying. Here they are:
Do something positive when the negative hits you
Sometimes you can`t stop a negative thought from popping up: being fired, getting cheated on…you name it. I have a friend who one day told me he believes he`ll die of cancer someday.
Terrible, isn`t it? And you know what`s worse? This shit keeps coming back the more you try to resist it.
You keep thinking of reasons to why they won`t fire you or why God will not bring cancer upon you. But you`re still worried, and sure you are, because no matter how powerful you are, there are some things in life over which you have no control.
And don`t blame yourself. Even high achievers and confident people have their share of worries and negative thoughts. Elliott Hulse, the internet celebrity, once mentioned how the idea of him getting into a car accident had crippled him for years.
It`s only when Hulse decided to stop reinforcing that negative thought and do something positive about it. He`d watch something positive on YouTube or do something good for a friend, and soon enough he`d be consumed with the positive over the negative.
You can only control two things: Attitude and Effort
Upon hearing a tipoff that the school wasn`t going to offer him a contract extension, things weren`t going well with Darrin Donnelly, the head coach of the Wisconsin State football team.
He had a rough year coaching-wise, he was on the verge of bankruptcy and with a new child on the way, Donnelly and his wife had all their hopes hanged on getting a new contract from the board. He knew the team should start improving, but it`s hard to win your next game when you know they were going to fire you either way.
So how did coach Donnelly react to the new situation? In his book, Think Like a Warrior: The Five Inner Beliefs That Make You Unstoppable, Donnelly mentioned that the key was to focus on the only two things he had control over…. his effort and his attitude.
“I sincerely believe that the difference was that I didn’t talk about winning and losing. I didn’t talk about beating opponents. I kept our focus on only what we could control: our effort and our attitude in the present moment.” He wrote.
Onto Donnelly`s new reaction. He played his future like Al Pacino in Any Given Sunday. But rather than one inch at a time, he focused on one game at a time. “No fear or failure and no worrying about the future, let`s just do our very best,” he told his players before their next game, and guess what? It was the turning point in his future.
The tip-off was false, Donnelly won the game, and the Wisconsin team played their greatest season in four decades.
Say: I`ll think about it later
“Trickery” is the best word to describe this technique. (But, it`s the real deal).
The next time you worry about something, tell yourself: I`ll worry about it tomorrow. I call this, the lazy approach to staying happy.
I learned this technique from Ramit Sethi, the bestselling author of I Will Teach You to Be Rich. He calls it the worry vault, where you metaphorically put your worries into a secret vault in the back of your head and choose to worry about them later while focusing on the thing in hand.
(Finally, you can be happy about procrastination).
I`ve been using this technique for more than three years, it works miracles, and I can`t see a reason it won`t do the same for you.
Put those thoughts on paper
Diaries are so 1999, but they work.
Most negative thoughts are so quick and complex that you don`t know what the hell that struck you. You feel bad, but you don`t know why, and the loop will stay close until you finally understand what`s wrong with your thinking. And here comes journaling.
By putting down your thoughts on paper, you get to analyze and understand them and your chances of feeling better increases. According to studies, journaling is one of the habits psychologists encourage returning veterans to do to overcome post-combat trauma.
Other studies also found that when you write down your thoughts before a tough task —like a job interview or an exam— you tend to perform better. So, yes. Maybe it`s time to think about keeping a journal.
Work your ass off (So you don`t have to worry about money)
You need money to feel happy. (This is science talking, not me).
If you analyze any business you know, you`ll notice that all businesses fall into one of three categories:
- Businesses that don`t have clients
Owner(s) live from paycheck to paycheck. They worry about basic stuff like rent and how to put food on the table.
- Businesses that have few clients
Always afraid they may lose the one or very few clients they have.
- Businesses that have tons of clients
The I-got-99-problems-but-money-ain`t-one type (this is the type of business/career you should lead).
Grant Cardone, the famous entrepreneur, once said like: “I`d rather worry about paying so much taxes than not have enough clients to run a business.” And this is precisely the mindset you should approach your financial life with.
Don`t get me wrong, it`s fine to have a more laid-back, go-with-the-flow personality. I`m cool with that. But if lacking money is stressing the hell out of your life then you should probably get more serious about it.
And I mean pretty damn serious.
You want to take the stage and break onto the scenes of your life. Stop being lazy, work your butt off and have so much money that can weather any financial storm. Because, like it or not, you need financial stability to be happy.
In any career or sport, Nothing brings confidence and peacefulness like hard work and proper preparation.
Marwan Jamal is a soccer-playing, food-loving, joke-cracking New York-based wellness writer. You can say hi to me here
How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.