"Worry is like a rocking chair - it gives us something to do,
But gets us nowhere."
In the supposedly big bad world that we live in nowadays, it may seem like worry is just part and parcel of life's experience. Sure isn't there always something to be worried about? What others think of us, what we're doing with our lives, if we'll ever get better, what could go wrong, our flaws, our failures, the unknown, getting older, growing up and the list goes on and on. Engaging in any of these fruitless worries takes up our time, energy and allows worry spread like a weed throughout our minds.
Worry is a misuse of our imagination; giving it our time means we throw away our creativity and mental energy into creating scenarios we don't even want to happen. The 'what if's and the worst case stories we tell ourselves are just leading us away from our potentially brilliant reality. Worry keeps us busy - it keeps us from having to fully participate in life because we convince ourselves that there's so much that could go wrong that it's not worth getting involved.
Regardless why it has become a hapless habit, it's worth re-evaluating the value we give it because at the end of the day, it's simply not serving us. It merely keeps us away from our goals, stuck in ruts, comfort zones and mentally exhausted.
10 Ways To Combat Worry:
- Be present. Worry either lives in the past shacked up with shame and regret, or else it takes us to the future arm in arm with anxiety. If we are in the present moment, it quickly minimises our potential bank of things to worry about. Focus on the now, everything is ok in this moment.
- Trust. Worry and trust don't typically coexist. If we trust ourselves and our journeys, we're not too worried about how we're doing. If we trust our decisions, we feel secure in the outcomes. In relationships, work and our day to day lives - trust is key. It's important to recognise where we're deficient in trust and drowning in worry and turn that dynamic on its head.
- Believe. Building on trust is belief. When we believe in ourselves, our capabilities, our talents we know that we'll be okay. If we believe in our resilience and our potential, there's little room for worry to take over and debilitate us. Believing in recovery means we don't need to worry whether or not it'll happen. Where belief is weak, worry will speak.
- Self esteem. Worrying about whether not we measure up, are good enough or live up to the expectations of others means we don't realise how much we actually have to offer. When the opinion of others worries us more than our own, it's time to get to work on our self esteem. Worrying about how we compare to the rest of the world dissolves our self respect and confidence. We need to build ourselves up and come to terms with the fact that we're not so bad. We can't please everyone and we can't read anyone else's mind, so it just makes sense to get to a point of pleasing ourselves and liking who we are.
- Let go of control. Worry loves to scare us with the unknown, uncertainty and life's unpredictable little curve-balls. What helped me with letting go of worry around that which I can't control is just accepting that it's out of my control. That's it. I believe everything happens for a reason, so if it's meant to be it will, if it's not, it won't. We can't worry our way to a safe, secure life. The unexpected is what makes life exciting, it's where we learn, experience and discover opportunity. It's not to be feared but to be embraced. It's like the quote, 'We can't stop the waves from coming, but we can learn how to surf.'
- 'I can handle it'. Taking a leaf out of Susan Jeffers' book 'Feel the Fear and do it Anyway'. this affirmation is a great one to kick worry out of our minds. What if we believed we could take on all our worries and handle them? When worries crop up try to just say, 'I can handle it' and leave it at that. No need to ruminate, go in circles or waste time in worry. Hear the worry whine at you and respond with a firm 'I can handle it'.
- What's the worst that can happen? Quite often when we worry we can channel our inner drama queen and create the most fabulously horrendous scenarios in our heads. If we actually play out all our 'what if's with a pinch of rational thinking, what is the worst that's actually going to happen? If it's about what others think - they might think I'm x,y,z and..what? Will you survive judgement? Will you survive discomfort? Can you survive embarrassment? Will we actually come out stronger from experiencing a bit of those?
- Do your best. If you do your best, you have nothing left to give - you've done it. So there's no point worrying about whether or not it's good enough, because you've given it all you've got. Consistently trying is all you can do and success will come with practice. We're not made to be perfect, we're made to be human. We all have different, unique qualities and our own challenges too. Embrace both and accept that perfection simply does not exist.
- Act now. Worry keeps us on the sidelines, heads down and eyes on the ground. So naturally, the antidote is to jump off that bench, suit up and get in there. Do the thing you don't want to do - feel the fear and do it anyway. The reason we get stuck in worry is because it keeps us safe in an uncomfortable comfort zone. But we miss out, we don't get to conquer our fears, we just sit and stew in the incessant circle of stress. Stop thinking about it and just do it.
- Don't worry if you find yourself worrying. Worry won't just go away, but it's not about the worry itself, it's what we do with it. When it rears its insistent head, just take it as information. It might be motivation for action, or a reminder to trust or a deficiency in self belief. Listen to it but don't get into a conversation with it, because as we all know, it can talk for hours and ain't nobody got time for that ;) Acknowledge it and seek out your solution.
We don't live in a big bad world, it's actually an incredible, abundant place jam-packed full of possibility. Yeah some of it might make us uneasy, but that's not a reason to hide away. Investing in worry borrows from our bank of possible experience and never gives back. It robs us of trying new things and reaping the benefits of being vulnerable. It robs us of the offers life is laying out on the table.
So from now on, let go of the weight of worry, grab the goods and run free.