My mum came over to for lunch today and we had a really interesting conversation about positivity. When things go wrong, however hard they may be my mum has an amazing capability to not lose her head and keep moving towards her goals. I asked her how she did this and her answer was simple ‘I don’t worry about what I can’t control and use my energy to change the things I can control’, Everywhere we turn these days, people are urging us to worry, children being snatched from the streets, the global recession, global warming, the obesity epidemic – the list is endless. These things can be internalised to ‘how can I protect my child?’, ‘is my job safe?’, ‘should I be recycling more?’ and ‘maybe I should drop a few pounds?’. There are many areas in which we need encouragement, but worrying is not one of them.
Why You Keep Worrying
You have mixed feelings about your worries. On one hand, your worries are bothering you – you can’t sleep, and you can’t get these pessimistic thoughts out of your head. But there is a way that these worries make sense to you. For example, you think:
- Maybe I’ll find a solution.
- I don’t want to overlook anything.
- If I keep thinking a little longer, maybe I’ll figure it out.
- I don’t want to be surprised.
- I want to be responsible.
You have a hard time giving up on your worries because, in a sense, your worries have been working for you.
Source: The Worry Cure: Seven Steps to Stop Worry from Stopping You by Robert L. Leahy, Ph.D.
But worrying is worrisome: It’s stressful, and as we all know, stress can kill you. I worry about that a lot! So lets stop the worry and decide on five things we can officially stop worrying about today.
1. Your to do list
“If I can just finish this piece of work,” we say to ourselves, “I can stop worrying.” We say this every time we start a new piece of work. No matter how much work we finish, by the time it’s done we’re fixating on the next thing on the to do list. But we need to stop that we need to enjoy the experience and what we are learning from what we do. Don’t worry about it – just spend the energy getting that task done. Being alive means that we have things to do, let it go.You may be thinking, “I can’t just cut my worrying loose! It isn’t under my control!” I empathize with this argument. I also know it’s rubbish. To stop worrying about something, simply direct your attention toward something else. Take yourself away from the situation, make a cup of tea, have a walk, write a blog…
2. Your looks
Although the beauty industry tell us differently your looks are something that’s basically genetic. Stressing about them only deepens the facial creases that make everyone in your family resemble raisins after the age of 70. Key phrase: everyone in your family. Instead of obsessing over your own appearance, try noticing—and mentioning—lovely things about everyone else. This will make people attracted to you, which, last time I checked, is what most of us are hoping to achieve by worrying about our looks in the first place.
The trick here is learning to reframe your perspective. For example, my friend always covers her furniture in cheap throws to avoid spills and stains from her children. One of the children recently said, “Mummy, you don’t need to worry about us spilling. Spills are just memories.” If you’d rather live surrounded by pristine objects than by the traces of happy memories, stay focused on tangible things. Otherwise, stop fixating on stuff you can touch and start caring about stuff that touches you.
4. The Past
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today’s a gift, that’s why they call it the present.”
You can’t change the past – live for today – why would you do anything else?
5. What other people think
We all worry what people think about us—until we decide not to waste the energy. Think 5 years ahead – will you really care about what your colleagues think about what you are doing today – surely not? Let it go and start doing what you want not what you think someone else wants. So go on give it go – stop worrying and see what happens, what new goals you achieve – there are a few quotes below to keep you inspired…
“How would your life be different if…You stopped worrying about things you can’t control and started focusing on the things you can? Let today be the day…You free yourself from fruitless worry, seize the day and take effective action on things you can change.”
― Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free
“According to Vedanta, there are only two symptoms of enlightenment, just two indications that a transformation is taking place within you toward a higher consciousness. The first symptom is that you stop worrying. Things don’t bother you anymore. You become light-hearted and full of joy. The second symptom is that you encounter more and more meaningful coincidences in your life, more and more synchronicities. And this accelerates to the point where you actually experience the miraculous. (quoted by Carol Lynn Pearson in Consider the Butterfly)”
― Deepak Chopra, Synchrodestiny: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence to Create Miracles
“Temperamentally anxious people can have a hard time staying motivated, period, because their intense focus on their worries distracts them from their goals.”
― Winifred Gallagher, Rapt: Attention and the Focused Life