Worry is something that can, quite literally, eat us up from the inside out. Some breeze through life, taking everything in their stride no matter what is thrown at them. But others worry over the slightest thing, letting molehills become big mountains to be overcome. But if you fall into the latter category, never fear, because some simple mindset changes can get you much more light and breezy than you ever thought possible. Pep talk over, let’s get onto the good stuff.
Past, Future or Present
Sounds obvious, but it is our reaction to circumstances that cause us to worry, yet we often worry about things that happened in the past that we have absolutely no control over. It’s gone, done. Yet we may worry and reflect on what occurred.
Similarly, the future has not happened yet. But yet we often destroy our present due to all consuming worry about the future, even though it’s totally counterproductive – taking away the ‘now’ and shaping what’s to come in a negative fashion.
Think about it like this- Imagine that like many of the population, you don’t enjoy speaking in public, and would find it a huge anxiety creating experience. Now if you were told days or hours in advance, you would perhaps do nothing but think of it and fret. But imagine a situation, where like right now – this very instance as you read this text – you instantly had to turn around and face an audience and speak.
You probably instinctively know that you could do it, much, much better than if you had time to think about it. Because realistically you have not had any time to self-sabotage through worry, and future predictions of doom, that become true through cultivating them
The key is to be in the NOW. It’s the only time that matters. But how?
Make a Decision and Own it
The maddening circles of indecisive thought, can drive one crazy with enough time. Making a decision frees you of this continual recirculation of thought, and allows you to proceed in one direction. How often have you felt a load taken off you, once you had made a call on something important?
And there’s an easy way to start this practice in your life in four simple steps:
- Writing down precisely what you’re worried about.
- Writing down what you can do about it.
- Deciding what to do.
- Starting immediately to carry out this decision.
Often, you can know exactly what to do, but not do it. Remember, knowledge of what to do is not enough, it is the application of your knowledge that is key. So making a decision to implement what you know is vital to overcoming an obstacle.
Rest Before You Get Tired
It’s almost a universal truth, that being tired increases worry. Everything seems harder when your body and mind are not rested. But what’s key here is to recognise when you’re about to get tired, and prevent that state occurring in the first place.
The US military found that resting their soldiers for 10 minutes before they marched, as opposed to rest after the march, led to far greater efficiency. Some historical greats, such as Winston Churchill and J.D Rockafeller have been wonderful examples of what rest can achieve. Churchill, during World War 2, worked 16 hour+ days, while in his sixties and seventies- How? Spending a whole lot of time working from his bed. And Rockafeller, no matter how energised he felt, would always take a 30 minute afternoon nap each day.
You are not a machine, you need to work smart, and recharge your batteries before they get to the critically low point. However, you might not have the luxury of daytime nap, nor to work from your bed – so how do you incorporate this into your life?
Take Simple Steps to free up Energy
- Relax whenever you can
Take a minute, close your eyes, let your body go loose.
- Work, as much as possible, in a comfortable position.
Physically stressful positions make you feel worried. Kick back when possible, and feel the worry melt away.
- Realize now that people are not thinking about you, nor really care much about what you’re up to.
Most people are very much in their own head, and not paying any attention to what you’re doing – and this is important to recognise if you have worries about the opinion of others.
- Get totally independent of the good or bad opinion of others.
And the ones that do think about you – don’t take their opinions, be they positive or negative on board. Own your actions, and be grounded and firm in your personal belief. Giving weight to others opinions on you and your life are the first step to second guessing yourself, and getting into a cycle of worry.
Build momentum. Get immersed and focused on things.
George Bernard Shaw summed it up beautifully when he said:
‘The secret of being miserable is to have the leisure to bother about whether you are happy or not.’ So don’t bother to think about it! Spit on your hands and get busy. Your blood will start circulating; your mind will start ticking—and pretty soon this whole positive upsurge of life in your body will drive worry from your mind. Get busy. Keep busy. It’s the cheapest kind of medicine there is on this earth—and one of the best.”