I wish I had a total solution for worry. As soon as I woke up this morning, my thoughts turned to reports I need to write, business I need to tend to, and people I need to see. I can immediately prioritize those – see clients, write reports, take care of business issues – in order of importance. Why worry? Because I know I can’t get it all done today. Since I know that, I worry.
I don’t believe complete solution for worry exists. It’s a nice idea. It sounds great. It would be a wonderful thing to have. But I don’t have it. We worry about having enough time and money. We worry about what will happen or what will not happen. Finding a total solution for worry is itself unrealistic. Yet, I do believe we can reduce our worry. This is the solution for worry – to eliminate excessive worry, reducing stress, anxiety, and restlessness.
Recognize the Lack of Change
What does worry change? Go ahead and say it…nothing. There isn’t one thing in your life that has been changed due to you worrying about it. This might be the most important key to finding a solution for worry. Me thinking about an issue over and over does nothing but make it bigger. It may indeed be big. However, most of the things we worry about simply aren’t. We predict the worst outcomes for our own lives because we think of what can go wrong. It doesn’t change anything. Go ahead and make a list of things your worry has changed. If your honest, your list will be a blank sheet of paper…
Cure the Chicken Little Syndrome
Chicken Little was, well, a chicken. Depending on which version of the story you read, something fell on him. In Chandler’s 1840 version, a leaf fell on his tail. He concluded the sky was falling. It’s easy to look at this old children’s tale and see how unrealistic Chicken Little’s worry was. However, we often do the same thing.
We have a tendency to think the worst. When something unexpected happens or something isn’t going the way we planned, we construct scenes in our mind that include the worst possible outcomes. Nearly anything is possible, but most things aren’t probable. When you consider the outcomes, ask yourself, “What is probable?” instead of “What is possible?” Chances are, things aren’t as bad as you perceive them to be.
One source of excessive worry is a belief that I am incapable. The truth is, that is an accurate belief. We are all incapable or at least incompetent in some area. I won’t ever be a professional golfer. That’s reality. Yet, we are often afraid that we can’t accomplish things we are well able to do. We also fear not doing things good enough, taking a perfectionist approach to life.
If you are feeling incapable, look at your past successes. If you need more ability in a particular area, find a way to learn that. If you feel you are not worthy to have good things happen in your life, see if you can apply that way of thinking to others you know and care for (I bet you can’t). One sure-fire way to reduce your worry is to get rid of self-doubt.
Most things that happen in our lives are the result of our actions, or inactions. Holding on to a belief that “bad things always happen to me” is a way to avoid responsibility. It places me in a position of having life happen to me instead of me living my own life. This is an important aspect of finding a solution for worry. Realize that you are in control of your life. Things happen because of your actions. You are not a random victim of the universe. You have the power to change some things in your life. Your life will take the course you set it on.
Do What You Can
When I understand what I can do I also get an understanding of what I can’t do. Once I have that, I can forget the latter part. If I can’t change the current situation or the outcome, I can effectively forget about it. It is simply unimportant.
Answer this question, “What is the best action for me to take that is most likely to produce the best long-term outcome?”
Notice something, the best long-term outcome. This does away with quick fixes or things that only make me feel better. I always have to consider the repercussions of my actions down the road from now. Once I decide what actual impact I can have, I can do that and forget the rest.
So what about my day? Well, I have decided what things need to be done and what things can wait until tomorrow, if necessary. It’s looking better already!
What are some ways you changed your thinking to reduce worry in your life? Let us know. We would love to hear from you!