We all spend too much time worrying about things that will never materialize. And this worry only makes our lives unnecessarily complicated and painful. However there is hope. By implementing the strategies in this article, each of us can diminish our worries and anxieties, and thereby be free to enjoy life to its full potential.
This is a simple technique to stop our worries. If you find yourself concerned over a situation in the future, you can try telling yourself, “let me worry about this tomorrow; there is no need to worry about it today because it won’t happen for quite a while anyway”. Whenever the problem comes to your mind, just try this technique – delay worrying for another day. The fact is that most worries never occur; delaying them is just a clever way of dealing with our negative mind. The nature of our mind is to create problems and things to worry about, but this is a way to forget about them. If you keep ignoring your worries you may later realize they are not going to occur anyway.
When we worry about things we can become paralysed by fear. Rather than just worrying, think very carefully about what practical steps you can take to avoid the problem. For example, if you worry about your finances consider how you could reduce your spending, increase your income and consolidate your debt.
If you just worry and feel powerless the problem will not go away, but will continue to lurk in the back of your mind. By taking action and working towards a resolution you will feel much better. Some problems shouldn’t be ignored, they require action; however, for other worries there are no steps that you can take because the worry is mostly imaginary. If you realize there is nothing you can actually do, this is a very good reason to stop worrying about it.
Be Careful What You Wish For
When we think about something intensely we give this idea greater power. In some form these ideas are more likely to materialize. If we worry over making a mistake, we can increase our chances of doing this. We therefore need to be careful what we think about; if we worry over a negative outcome we increase the chance that it will occur – Our worries can become self fulfilling. If we remember the power of thought, we will be more careful about dwelling on painful outcomes. Rather than worrying about a negative event, focus your attention on how difficult situations could be resolved and think how you would successfully deal with the problem.
Keep Things in Perspective
Try writing a list of all the things that you are currently worried about, then examine how much they really effect your life. Are you worrying about important things in life or merely side issues? If your worries are insignificant issues then give them the importance they deserve.- If you don’t get a certain parking space in the morning it is not the end of the world. If a child forgets to turn a light out, it is not a big deal. Don’t be overwhelmed by small things – try to see the bigger picture.
Control Your Thoughts
The key to reducing anxiety and worry is learning the ability to control your thoughts. Sometimes we feel powerless over our own thoughts; it is as if we are slave to them. Whatever thoughts may come we identify with them and accept them as true. However, this is a big mistake. Our own thoughts are often wrong. Also we do have the ability to decide which thoughts to pursue and which thoughts to reject; if we are determined we can prevent thoughts taking hold and throw them out of our mind. If we give importance to controlling our own mind we will be less subject to pursuing endless worries and anxieties.
Don’t Be Vain
It might be harsh, but alas true, that we often worry about what people think of us. We worry endlessly that we might not meet society’s expectations; we worry about whether people will like us. With this mental outlook we start to give too much importance to our ego; it means we are constantly looking for appreciation and the admiration of others. If we don’t get this appreciation, we start to worry that we are no good. If we can develop greater self confidence and inner poise, then we will not worry about what others believe or think.
We need to give less importance to the opinions of the world. Even if we get criticized, we should not worry because we should not identify our self worth with the opinions of others. This is not easy to do overnight, but, if we can detach ourselves from judgements of others we will gain greater inner peace and avoid worrying over the relatively insignificance of people’s judgements.
Another approach to dealing with worries is to carefully analyze whether they are actually justified. Ask yourself why am I worrying about this? Could I be wrong? Suppose you are worrying about someone’s reaction to what you did at work; it is likely that you are imagining the worse and assigning false motives to the other person. If nothing else you can sow a seed of doubt in the reason for your anxiety. Before, you felt it was 100% certain to occur, but, on reflection you have to admit it is perhaps only 50% true. By analyzing and stepping back from the problem you can evaluate it’s importance and this is an effective way to diminish the power of our worries.
There are always things to worry about, but, as it has often been said, worrying is not going to help. Either take practical steps to deal with the problem or don’t waste your time worrying about unnecessary things. If you keep ignoring worries, eventually they will go away. The key is to live in the present moment; when we worry we are thinking of the future or past and this prevents us from enjoying the present moment. To reduce worries and anxieties is not to ignore problems – it means we work toward solutions rather than just thinking of bad outcomes.
Tejvan Pettinger is an economics teacher in Oxford and enjoys writing on issues of self improvement. He writes for a blog called Sri Chinmoy Inspiration. If you enjoyed this article, you may also enjoy: Effective ways to get out of a Negative Mindset.
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.