The serial worrier, not one decision can be made without worrying about the consequences. What if it goes wrong? What if it doesn’t work out? What if the worst happens? What if, what if, what if. Sound familiar?
Usually, all this worry results in the most annoying phrase a worrier can ever hear:
“Don’t worry, it’ll be okay.”
It’s okay to worry about the outcome of a big decision, but when worrying becomes less of an occasional thought and more of crippling anxiety, that’s when we need to talk. I know, I’ve been there. Worrying has stopped me making a lot of decisions that could have had a positive impact on my life.
How to stop worrying about the future
I’ve put together a few tricks so you can learn how to stop worrying about the future. All of these have saved me from a life of worry and given me more opportunities to succeed.
Stop worrying – your brain loves fear
It’s important to understand what’s going on in that head of yours. The above phrase may be disheartening but it signifies something very important – if you know what your mind is doing, you can change what it’s doing.
Your brain loves fear. Fear is comfortable and controllable. Your mind has chosen to think about the fear factor, rather than the positive outcome of whatever you’re thinking about. After all, you can predict a negative outcome, but a positive one is not certain.
This is a major problem, your fear is showing itself in the form of worry. It’s stopping you from progressing simply because it refuses to see the positive and hangs on the negative in comfort.
You can change this. Now you know what your mind is doing, you can spot it and make a shift. Accept that you’re having a worrying thought and spend some time in the moment, thinking about the positive outcomes instead. Really delve deep into this until the positive thoughts outweigh the negative.
This technique is not easy and it will take time for you to actively shift your mind so you can stop worrying, but it can be done.
Say stop and switch the topic
Your mind can really do a number on you once it gets going. Whenever I have a quiet moment and my mind is given some breathing space, I either get loads of great ideas, or I worry and create negative scenarios that have never and probably will never happen.
Can you imagine if every single person let these thoughts go on? There would be absolutely no progress because the whole world would be stuck in ‘what-ifs’ and ‘but whens’.
As soon as you feel this happening say, “Stop. I’m not going to think about this” and think of something else instead. You’re in control of your mind, practice this and you will be able to stop it from returning to those places quicker every day so you can stop worrying.
Focus on the here and now
Worry tends to focus on the future. What if I flunk that test? What if I stumble on my lines? What if I don’t finish the race? What if we never go back to ‘normal’? Those thoughts are pointless for your mind to be spending time on now. The likelihood is, whatever you’re worried about, it’s very hard to take control of now, there’s very little you can do in the present moment to alter whatever it is you’re worried about.
I’m going to say the phrase… stop worrying!
By allowing your mind to worry, you’re not living in the moment, you’re not focusing on your life in the here and now.
Go take a break, make a cup of coffee and focus on something you can do right now that will make you feel wonderful, even if that means doing absolutely nothing.
Focus on the things you can control and take action to switch your mind from focusing on worry and instead, on something positive.
You need to be kind to yourself so that you can be the best version of you.
One last thing, it’s important to remember that you can only control your own actions. Everything outside of yourself is not within your control.
You can’t control what other people do or say, you can only control how you react and what you choose to do with your life.
So focus on yourself in times of worry and fear. Go inwards and take care of number one.
Featured image by Verne Ho