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 cookie with your afternoon tea and you’re worried if it was one too many for the waistline you’re watching. Or maybe 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 – so stop worrying!
You’ve already done your pitch so you’ve done what you can to get the job. You’ve already eaten the cookie so no point beating yourself up for it when it’s already in the tummy. And the weather is uncontrollable so worrying about isn’t going to change it. How often do you worry about things you can’t change? Probably at least a few times a day – if not more. This create unnecessary additional stress for both your body and mind, and actually prevents the joy and enjoyment you can experience today. So it’s time you learned to stop worrying.
Let’s start by looking at what research has said about worrying in general:
So how do you let go of this worrying that sometimes drives you crazy – especially when you’re worrying about things you have no control over? Try the six strategies below to stop worrying once and for all – there’ll be a time and a place for each of them.
1. Accept uncertainty & learn to thrive in it.
The beauty of life is in how unpredictable it is – you never quite know what’s around the corner! Learn to embrace this uncertainty and thrive in it. Who knows, it could even bring some exciting new opportunities you never even thought about. Put your heart and soul into the things you care about, and work hard on achieving your dreams. That’s all you can do. The rest is up to the world.
2. Call a friend to talk about you worry.
Talking about your worry will help you get your head straight about whether your worry is realistic, worth worrying about, and something you can actually do anything about. It will help you understand that there’s no point worrying about it if the outcome is out of your hands, and hence let’s you offload some of the weight you carry around.
3. Practice mindfulness.
Learning to be present will help you keep your mind focused on what you’re doing now rather than worrying about things you can’t change. Even simple meditations, such as 10 minutes of sitting down just focusing on your breathing, has been shown to reduce everyday stress by as much as 39%.
4. Distract yourself with another activity.
Really can’t seem to get it out of your head? Go do something completely unrelated and different that forces you to focus on something else. This is most effective if you choose an activity that you get fully immersed in, such as practicing your hobby or reading an exceptional book. For example, I’m able to escape the world when I go to my horses – even just brushing them and spending time with them takes my mind away from other things.
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 or 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.
6. Have a designated worry time and worry notebook.
If you really want to take control of those worries and you’re finding that the above strategies don’t work, allow yourself to worry for a certain time period every day. Spend that time writing about all your worries in that notebook, and accept that when the time is up, the worrying will have to stop. That way you will get them out of your head and onto paper, which research has shown is very effective in clearing your head.
It’s important to note that worrying is a completely normal 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, fight your worry with action! For the things you can’t change, have a play with these six strategies and see how you get on with letting go of your worries!
Now I’d love to hear from you. Which of these 6 strategies will you test first – or do you have your own way to stop worrying about things you can’t change? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
If you liked this post, please share it, tweet it, pin it, like it – and you’ll be able to help people to put a stop to the 85% things we worry about that actually never happen.
Good luck in your adventures and until next week!