If you’re anything like me, you’ve worried about failing a test, being late for a meeting, or giving a lousy presentation. Well…I did crappy on some tests, arrived late for a few meetings, and you guessed it, had my share of lousy presentations. And you know what? I’m still here to tell you about it. Life goes on. Why worry?
Sometimes we worry about events because we view them as the most important things in the world. Looking back, however, we learn that very few of these situations made a real difference in the long run. In sports, we win and lose games; in business, we have ups and downs; and the kids have good and bad days. Life goes on. What’s more, after a few months, most situations that once seemed so important completely slip from our mind. You’d think we’d learn our lesson the next time around, but most of us treat each incident like it was our first, and we worry. After repeating this exercise again and again, some of us realize that very few things in life are really life-changing.
If it won’t matter in a year or two, it’s not worth the worry.
Worry About the Important Stuff
Here are four things to consider the next time you get worked up and feel panic setting in:
Is the issue important? Keep things in perspective. Some situations appear larger than life, yet in hindsight they’re inconsequential. The key is to gauge the issue beforehand. As a simple test, ask yourself whether the problem will matter in a year or two. If not, it may be unworthy of your concern.
Are you being level-headed? When you’re tired, emotional, or under stress, negative thoughts can spiral out of control, even if the premise is far-fetched.
How well do you know yourself? How often do your worries actually materialize? If they rarely come to fruition, don’t get worked up.
Can you affect the outcome? Don’t worry about things that are out of your control. For example, if you’re worried about the weather, let it go.
Life Is Too Short to Worry
Some worrying is productive — it encourages you to be prepared, keeps you on your toes, and prevents you from letting success go to your head. In addition, it might push you to ask “What-if” questions and to create back-up plans if things go awry. Other times, worrying makes us anxious, irritable, and fearful.
Worry is a by-product of feeling powerless. We fear the unknown and are frustrated that we can’t do anything about it. We also want to influence daily events, but some things are beyond our control. The key is to face that reality and go with the flow. Most things that we worry about never come to pass. And when they do, very few of them change mankind. In fact, in most cases worrying is a lot worse than the actual outcome. So, the next time you worry that the world is coming to an end, either do something about the situation or put it to rest. Take a deep breath and count to ten. If that doesn’t work, count to twenty. Life has its ups and downs, so make the best of the in-betweens.
What Are You Worried About?
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