We all do it, some of us more than others. We future worry. Some things we worry about are within our control, other things…..not so much. I’m reminded of a quote I heard once. I believe it’s from Mark Twain and it goes something like this “I have experienced some terrible things in my life and some of them actually happened”. He was so right. How many times have I worried about something completely beyond my control to the point of loosing sleep? Too many times to remember for sure.
I would like to think that I have gotten better as I have gotten older. It is not that I don’t worry anymore. I Still do. It is just that now, I do a better job of compartmentalizing my worries. I am reminded of what my Mom once told me one time when I was expressing my concern over a now forgotten issue. She said “Son, things are almost never as bad as they seem. You will get thru it I promise you” . Well as always, she was right.
So what is a strategy that we can use to keep us from letting our worries get the best of us? Here are some things that I have found useful for me:
1) Decide if your concerns are valid. If they are, do you have any control over the outcome? If not, take a deep breath and say out loud “I am not going to let something outside my control steal my day”. Does this always work? Of course not. But acknowledging this negative emotion is the first step to containing it.
2) If what you are worried about is real and you have control over the outcome, decide a logical course of action…then act on it!
3) Try to remain as logical and clear headed as possible. Remember, logic and emotion are like oil and water……they don’t mix. Being overly emotional impairs your good judgement. I am reminded of a quote I try play in my head when I am in a negative emotional state. ”never make a decision when you are angry or afraid…it is like letting a coward lead your army.”
4) Take some time to think about past challenges that you successfully navigated your way thru or around.
5) Say to yourself “this too shall pass”. Affirm that you WILL get through it and you will be better for if. You won’t always believe it when you say it but that is OK. There is no downside that I know of for being optimistic and proactive. Yes, some people are naturally more optimistic than others, but optimism is a habit and with effort it can be cultivated.