If you were to ask me what I am doing, nine times out of ten I would want to say, “worrying.” Because it isn’t socially acceptable to answer like that, I’ll answer with something generic, but there’s probably still something in the back of my mind.
The truth is, I’m always worrying about something, whether it be work, friends, family, money, health, just life in general. My thoughts take a concerned turn and they pull me from a lot of other important things. I have a tendency of getting lost inside of my head and it is a very big distraction from the present moment. I could be at a party, hanging out with friends, at a game, or in a class, and my thoughts will creep up on me. Sometimes it would get to the point where I would worry about worrying.
I’ve begun to realize just how short life can be and how important it is to live as fully as possible, no matter how worried I may be. By being a constant worrier, I am making it harder to live in the present moment and to enjoy everything going on around me. Here’s how I learned to let go of my worries and live in the present moment, even though I’m a worrier.
Ask yourself if you can solve the problem right now
I can worry about absolutely anything at any moment in time, no matter where I am or what I am doing. When you find yourself worrying about something, ask yourself, “can I fix this right now?” Oftentimes, your worry may not be related to what to what you may be presently involved in. If it’s 3 in the morning and you are thinking a problem you have at work, you probably can’t do anything about it right then. I like to remind myself that the issue can’t be solved right then and there, so I should stop worrying about the issue.
Ask yourself if the worry is even solvable
I like to worry about my future. Aside from planning for it, not much can be done about the mystery of what will happen one or ten years from now. Why worry about something that hasn’t happened yet? If you’re worried about something you truly can’t fix, you shouldn’t be worried about it.
Create time to worry
There’s a time for everything and there is definitely a time to worry. As much as I would like to say that I’ve stopped worrying completely, I haven’t. Worrying is in human nature, so let it happen, but don’t let it consume you. Instead, schedule in time to worry. I like to give myself about twenty minutes every few mornings to really worry about things. Then I take another few minutes to breathe and let it go and resume my day. Be careful not to do this too close to bedtime, though, because nothing will keep you up at night like your thoughts.
Make your worry your motivation
I’ve found that worrying can serve as great motivation. If I’m stressed about a project or big piece of work I have coming up, I use my worry to get me going. If there isn’t something looming over your head, you don’t have to worry about it. Whether it’s a conflict to address, something to fix, or a task to get done, address it. If it’s a worry that can be fixed, do your best to fix it as soon as possible.
I was in class a few weeks ago and I began to worry about a completely unrelated issue. So I turned my attention back to my professor and to the class. In order to avoid the worry, I began to participate in the classroom discussion. Before I knew it, class was over, and I hadn’t paid any more attention to the worry. By distracting myself with another matter, the worry dissolved. Remember that you are the master of your own domain and set your thoughts on another course. You may later come to find that there was nothing worth worrying about at all.
Write them down
Writing things down is a proven way to let things go and come to terms with things. Writing down whatever is bothering you is no different. Putting your worries down on paper will put them into perspective. Once it is out of your head, you may realize a few things; that it is solvable, that it’s a genuine concern, or that it is not worth worrying about at all.
Worrying is a fact of life. In the course of your daily life, take some time to stop and smell the flowers, but don’t worry about the bees that might sting you. Worries do more than just preoccupy your thoughts; they can occupy your everyday actions. I acknowledge that it can be difficult to stop your worries, but learning to do these simple things has improved my outlook drastically. So stop worrying, and start living. You’ll be glad you did.