Worrying can be all consuming. It distracts us from all the good things happening in our life, clouds our judgment when we need to make tough decisions, and it even makes us irritable towards the ones we love.
When you think about it, worry is the result of a lack of certainty – certainty that the universe is always working in our best interest. When we start to doubt that, the fear creeps in and we start to spin into an endless cycle of "what if’s". What if I can’t finish this project on time? What if I can’t pay my bills this month? What if I’m not as good at my job as I thought I was? What if the person I'm with no longer loves me?
So how do we manage the worry?
How do we acknowledge our fears and concerns but tackle them in a healthy, productive way?
Let's explore 5 ways to alleviate your worries and reframe your thoughts:
Oftentimes, worry can be vague and unfocused. It can feel like "everything" is wrong. By sitting down and making a list of what you are worried about, you hone in on what it is that’s really troubling you. This breaks your fears down into issues – and often, surprisingly manageable ones! Then instead of focusing on the hurdles, you can start to focus on how to overcome them.
It is important to keep your mind and body healthy when you are stressed. Exercising gets the blood pumping and the ideas flowing. There’s a reason many people say they do their best thinking on the treadmill. It also gives you an immediate achievable task. When you finish a workout, you feel accomplished and capable, which is a much healthier headspace to be in than one of worry.
Fear and dread keeps us locked in our own heads. Taking time to meditate will keep you centered and calm, so that you can move forward from a place of level-headedness. Negative thoughts can fester and multiply if left unchecked. By giving your brain a break, it will help you gain a new perspective and allow you to approach the situation with fresh eyes. (P.S.: You can combine 1 & 3! Write your fears down on a piece of paper, and then burn it while meditating on the removal of your fears. See how much lighter you feel after. There are no limits to the power of positive thinking!)
There is no reason to hold your problems inside. Find a friend, acquaintance, stranger, or professional who will listen. They may have useful advice. Just saying the issues out loud to someone can immediately make them seem smaller and less impossible.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of only looking at worst-case scenarios and feeling helpless. Try considering the best-case scenarios instead. Just consider the possibility that everything could work out exactly the way you want! And also, consider that what you want may not be what is best for you in the long run, and that this process is leading you to something better than you can even imagine.
It's so easy to formulate a roadmap for our lives. We think we know exactly where we need to go and how to get there. But as life teaches us, things don't always go according to plan. There are detours and bumps along the road. Sometimes we get turned around, and sometimes the destination isn't what we thought it would be. In those moments, it's only natural to fear, worry, and stress about the future. But we as humans are capable, adaptable beings. We are designed to overcome struggles.