Worrying in 3 Easy Steps
Here’s a quick-fire round — what do you worry about the most? GMOs in your food? Unread emails sitting in your mailbox? Receding hairline? The bags under your eyes? Or something else?
In the age of information and technology, news outlets and social media are continuously exposing us to things to worry about. From obsessing about the latest hair care product to worrying about political divisions, no one is immune to the effects of anxiety led by indulgence in our daily activities.
However, one question that keeps me grounded in reality is:
A year from now, would [things that worry you] matter?
We spend most of our day incessantly worrying about what could go wrong that we never truly spent the time taking control of what we could. Aside from the question above, here are three simple steps to push past your worries and see matters for what they are.
1. Schedule An Appointment To Worry
It sounds counterintuitive to say this but give your mind the attention it needs to stop worrying. The only way to heal a bruised knee is to apply antiseptic cream on it even if it hurts the shit out of us. The same way scheduling time blocks in our daily schedule to worry can reduce our anxiety.
Determine how much time you have in a day to do this, it could be a quick 15 minutes after you’ve woken up or before you head to sleep. Regardless of when you choose to worry, the focal point is to acknowledge your anxious thoughts, face them in the face and say, “I’m ready to let you mess my mind for 15 minutes. After that, you’re done because I’ve given you my attention.”
Committing time to ruminate on your worries gives you the clarity on what you’re anxious about and helps you control how you want to spend the rest of your time productively. After each session, you’ll realise that those thoughts aren’t as important as you thought it to be, breaking the chain of frequent worrying.
2. “Take It Out” On Someone
I don’t mean verbally hurling your worries on someone rudely but confiding it in someone whom you trust. Sharing your concerns is a great way to disarm yourself in a fight-or-flight response when worries infest your brain.
Holding back your thoughts can make you unnecessarily more worried, and a not so value-adding bonus is that you became more stressful worrying too much about your suppressed worries. You’re going to have negative feelings either way so might as well turn to someone and understand why you feel the way you do.
Communicating your worries doesn’t have to always end on an endpoint. Meaning, you don’t need to have a life-changing or a concrete call-to-action plan to bring about a tangible change. Instead, take it as a safe space for you to vent about your feelings, validate them, and process reasons for feeling this way.
You may not fix all your worries, but talking it out helps to improve your mood at least, and that is the goal — to break the chain on worrying about your fears.
3. Think About People Who Are Having It Worse Than You
Take a moment to think about people who had lost their loved ones or filed for a police report on their missing spouse only never to hear news about them again. Imagine the “what ifs” a person has for hurting someone they never meant to, not knowing where they are in life.
Now, how do all your worries compare?
Every minute you spent worrying about something, is a minute in life you’ll never get back. As long as you have what you need to be contented, you’re surrounded by people you love, and even the simplest thing like having access to clean drinking water with a turn of a running tap; worrying seems like a small thing to worry about because there are more things to be grateful for.
Savour every moment life has to offer and enjoy the ride.
Thank you for reading!