OVERTHROWING WORRY AND FEAR TO BE MORE AT PEACE
In three different and unique conversations, I had three friends mention that one of their goals for the new year is to worry less. One mentioned wanting to worry less and be more in the moment. Another mentioned they are in constant fear of not having enough money for their needs. The final person mentioned wanting to follow their intuition more but worry constantly took over. In short, worry plays a big role in these individual's lives and it is a silent killer of their dreams and life. I'd wager a bet that this is not a case related only to these dear friends but to many of you readers/listeners as well.
Worry is not something we talk openly about. Our pride often keeps us from mentioning we're worried about things at home, work, or in our relationships. And sometimes those worries are completely unfounded and that's why we don't mention them aloud. But no matter how you split it out, worry is a consuming thought that impacts us all and it can take over if we're not careful. So what is the goal to stop us from worrying, specifically for my three friends? 1) going with the flow, 2) listening to intuition, and 3) being in the moment.
Why we worry.
Worrying is a defense mechanism built to help us solve short-term problems. And while it works wonderfully for that, but we tend to think of worrying as planning, which can help us feel secure in the short-term. But the quote above from Winston Churchill defines worrying to feel safe perfectly- we can have a lot of trouble in our life (imagined from worry) and most of it will never happen. Another common quote about worry is that it's like a rocking chair, a lot of work but gets you nowhere.
So why do we worry, if it gets us nowhere? Like I mentioned above, it's a conditioned defense mechanism to help us. The issue comes from when we preset our brains to worry anytime we have a minute to let our minds wander. It turns a time where we could be focusing on the good and living in the moment to a time of stress, anxiety, and pain at the thought of what you worry about actually happening.
Also, beyond a free-time response, I've noticed that if we feel we are unworthy of a good life, we can worry that it will all be taken away. There's too much good happening, so the rug must be pulled out from beneath us any time now, so we had better plan for that. And that leads to worry consuming our thoughts and our lives.
How to reduce worry, be in the moment, go with the flow, and listen to your intuition.
There are several methods to reduce worry and find more peace in your life. Below are a few that I've personally used and found helpful:
1) Participate in #100HappyDays challenge.
I've done this two times and it completely forced me to live in the moment and look for the good instead of worrying about the bad. Posting something that made me happy every day for 100 days allowed me to spend my time identifying what made me happy or brought me joy. It was hard at first and difficult not to duplicate things brought happiness but as time went on, I had days where I had 5 things I had to choose between! I looked for moments of joy to share and it helped me live more in the moment and stop worrying.
2)Ask why and what good worrying is doing.
One of the most helpful exercises you can undertake is to stop mid-thought and ask why you're worrying and what good it is doing you. Just being able to break the worrying cycle by asking why is a huge step in the right direction. Getting the answer to why can be incredibly enlightening and help you take the steps to fix why you are worrying.
I've said it before but gratitude is the route of all happiness. Instead of focusing on what you could lose or how your life may change, take a look at all that's good around you. Once you can see how good your life is, you understand that the universe has your back and everything happens for a reason. This then leads to less worry because you know everything will work out and you have a good life.
4)Worry it to completion.
Tim Farriss mentions in his book, The Four-Hour Work Week, a tactic called fear-setting. In this exercise, he encourages you to let worry take over in a productive way. Worry and explain out the absolute worst thing that can happen and then ask yourself if you could live with that. Ask if the risk is worth the worst consequence. Then do the opposite. Identify the best case scenario and ask if the risk is worth the reward. In most cases, you'll see that worrying isn't worth it and you should go for your life anyways. This can help offset worry in your life.
You can hear an audio reading of this blog post on Happiness Abound, The Podcast- Episode 75. Subscribe to Happiness Abound, The Podcast on iTunes or GooglePlay and follow us on Facebook or Instagram.