Should I be worrying? The biggest change to happen in my business for the past 15 years is happening! My business partner of the past decade Keith Watson and I are parting ways. Keith will be 70 on his next Birthday and we always knew the day would come whereby the coal face of the business was not going to be for him anymore. He is someone I will always consider a close friend, someone who has always had my best interests at heart and someone who has contributed greatly to this business and the way it has been run – I shall miss him greatly. Of course, I’ll miss working with him, but I’ll also miss his counsel, his ideas and his support when I have an existential crisis, which I am prone to on occasions.
I’ll be writing about him and I separating a fair bit more in my weekly ezine and offering my thanks and love to him as we go about our lives, and I must confess that when we made the decision, it came as a shock, and it also filled me with worry and concern. For some reason, I started to question my own capabilities and started to worry about a wide range of other things that I should know better than to worry about. I had to take some of my own medicine and it is rather cathartic to be writing this article today, all about dealing with worry…..
You’ve just done a pitch for a potential client and you’re waiting with worry to hear if they’d like to go ahead with the work you proposed. You had an extra biscuit with your afternoon tea and you’re worried if it was one too many for the waistline you’re watching. Maybe you’re self-employed and finding the economic climate challenging. Or maybe it is something simple such as you’re about to go have a nice evening out with your friends and you’re worried whether it will rain. The common denominator in all these things is that you’re worrying about things you can’t change once they are done – so stop worrying!
“What do you regret when you look back on your life?”
That’s what Karl Pillemer, professor of human development at Cornell University, founder and director of the Cornell Institute for Translational Research on Aging, asked hundreds of older people as part of Cornell University’s Legacy Project.
He wrote that he was unprepared for the answer he so often received: “I wish I hadn’t spent so much of my life worrying.” You can read more about his research in this article in the Independent Newspaper.
Research shows that about 85% of the things we worry about never happen. If what we worry about does happen, 80% of us said we handled the outcome better than we thought we would. When you let go of worries instead of stressing over them, you become much healthier than those who don’t.
The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart research shows that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control.
Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, worrying too much decreases your cognitive performance. Successful people have well-honed coping strategies that they employ under stressful circumstances. This lowers their stress levels regardless of what’s happening in their environment, ensuring that the stress they experience is intermittent and not prolonged. As the well-used adage goes…..
“Worry does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace”
So how do you let go of this worrying that sometimes drives you crazy – especially when you’re worrying about things you have no real control over? Use these ten strategies here today to stop worrying once and for all – there’ll be a time and a place for each of them.
1. Avoid Imaginary Fears:
Imaginary fears are one of the biggest reasons behind constant worrying. Human Beings are seemingly strange, and the human brain is an incredibly fantastical thing, even in the most peaceful and calm times of their life, they sometimes imagine baseless fears. This results in disturbing any peace of mind. So, the first thing you can do is stop creating imaginary fears in your head and have a positive view towards life.
2. Control Your Mind:
This is the most important thing to do. There is famous saying, “If you don’t control your mind, it will start controlling you.” Just remember this quote and you can stay away from constant worrying because most of the times your mind exaggerates simple things. So, take control of your mind. While we are on the subject of control, also do all you can to stop attempting to control the uncontrollable – if you cannot control it, recognise as much and stop trying to do so.
3. Live in The Present:
Most of the worry results from pondering over your past or over thinking about the future. If you think about past, you are wasting your time as you cannot change it. Similarly, when you think about future you are imagining the unseen. Both the situations can be problematic if you spend too much time there as they result only in disturbing your present peace of mind. You should live in the present to avoid this condition. Learn how to be present, how to focus on the now and allow it to help you further.
4. Write a Journal:
Yes, writing can be of great help to lessen your constant worrying. Just write down all the problems on a piece of paper and maybe strike out the ones which are related to your past and future. These problems may have no relevance, just concentrate on solving the ones pertaining to your present where possible and relevant. Likewise, strike out anything on that list that you do not directly control. Strike out anything that is actually not so much of a worry when you consider it properly. Adopting this way towards your list of (so-called) worries will help you to segregate your real problems, which really need your attention; from the ones that are irrelevant or uncontrollable. It will in turn help in reducing your habit of worrying excessively. Get systematic, matter of fact and sober about your (so-called) worries.
5. Eat Healthy:
You must be thinking that what is the relation between eating healthy and less worrying? There is, as what you eat affects your health in a big way. If you eat a balanced diet, you will remain healthy and in turn will have a reason less to worry. It is great to have the foundation of good health to support you at challenging times in your life, so it makes sense that I go on to this….
‘A healthy mind resides in a healthy body’, it is an age old saying, but it is true even in the present times. In order to keep yourself away from excessive worrying, you must keep your physical health in check. Doing some kind of exercise you enjoy will give you a break from your worries whilst reducing the levels of your stress hormones, stimulating the production of feel-good brain chemicals, and improving your self-image. If you’re struggling to get your mind to be quiet during exercise, put some fun music on in your headphones, engage in some mindfulness or a quality cognitive strategy or if appropriate, push yourself even harder. When you challenge your body you will need to focus so you won’t be able to worry about anything else other than the exercise itself.
7. Psychological Strategies:
Mindfulness and meditation are proven techniques to control the wandering thoughts of the mind. It helps to focus on your goal, refresh your mind and lessen the habit of constant worrying. Likewise, as I have written about so many times before on this blog, self-hypnosis is a goal directed process that can help you develop resilience, perspective and mental calmness.
Learn how to incorporate meditation and/or self-hypnosis in your daily routine, to reduce worry. I’ll be sharing a self-hypnosis routine to use here on this blog very soon.
8. Limit Your Responsibilities:
Just remember one thing, you are a human being and not a person with superpowers (at least, not all of the time). You cannot take responsibility for each and every thing in your life all of the time, be it your family life, work space life, or social life. You need to decide the priorities in your life and maybe audit your responsibilities to see what can be shared or even off-loaded. Don’t stress yourself with unnecessary responsibilities.
9. Organise Your Life:
Yes, an organised life is much happier and stress free, than a disorganised one. If you wish to avoid last minute stress and worry, organise your surroundings. See how to best create some order in your home and work-place, for example – can you employ systems that ensures some aspects of life just tick over nicely without you having to concern yourself about them? It can be a help to reduce your constant worrying to have such systems in place.
10. Be Patient:
I believe this is the most useful step to lower or reduce constant worrying. Remember, it took you a while to develop the habit of constant worrying and in the similar way it will take time to get rid of this habit. Don’t expect miracles necessarily, it might take time. In the meanwhile, don’t be irritated and be patient with yourself.
It’s important to note that worrying is a completely usual human emotion and that there is no need for you to beat yourself up about worrying. But you will be able to reduce your stress levels and boost your positive emotions if you’re at least able to stop worrying about things you can’t change. For the things you can change, do something about them, and tackle your worry with action! For the things you can’t change, have a play with these ten strategies and see how you get on with letting go of your worries!
In my case, I’m setting about these things and moving forward, I’m also reframing aspects of my worry so that I can feel some liberation and excitement instead of fear and worry.