Have you ever noticed that some people are chronic worriers, while others seem to calmly take things in stride? I’ve often wondered how hard life must be for the worrying types. They face the same uncertainties as more easygoing types, but somehow manage to focus on what could go wrong or how something may potentially negatively affect them. It shows up in their stress level, appearance, disposition, and encounters with almost everyone.
Very early in life, I decided to minimize worry because it rarely did me any good. I noticed that the more I worried, the more difficult life seemed. I learned to adopt a phrase my mom always said: “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I realized that things generally worked out fine anyway, and even when they didn’t, I somehow managed to deal with them (and build a little humility and resilience in the process!). The best approach is to focus on the things I can control.
If you have a tendency to worry (as in, “what if he/she won’t like my gift?!?”), I encourage you to reflect on the following questions:
- How often have your worries actually been justified (i.e., when the bad news DID happen)?
- If things didn’t work out, did you still deal with them well and grow as a person?
- Can you remember what you worried about a year ago?
- What do you tend to worry about and why? Can you instead channel these worries into a productive plan to achieve a good outcome?
- What can you do to worry less and trust yourself more?
In addition to asking yourself these questions, you can also follow these tips to help you slow down, relax, and focus on the positive and constructive instead of the negative and hypothetical:
- Accept the fact that uncertainty is a normal part of life..We can’t always know the outcome of a situation before we enter it!
- Even if your life has been filled with challenges, try to take each opportunity with a fresh start. Keep an open mind and try to avoid jumping to conclusions.
- Surround yourself with positive people who are uplifting and encouraging. And, by all means, take advantage of the wisdom and care from your friends and family.
- Set aside a “quiet time” for yourself every day, especially when you’re going through a challenging time or decision. Use this time to reflect, meditate, and think about the things that may be bothering you. When you make this a regular habit, you will notice you spend less time throughout the day distracted by worrisome thoughts.
Every one of us will go through challenges and worries. In fact, our greatest character growth comes from enduring trials, which often prove to be for our own good (even if it’s hard to fathom at the time). So if you’re a worrier, do yourself (and those around you) a favor: take charge of your worries rather than letting them take charge of you!
“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.” –Leo Buscaglia
In uncertain situations, do you tend to worry a lot? What steps can you take to worry less and trust more? What tips and tricks have worked for you?