Do you want to procrastinate? Do you like to procrastinate? Do you want to come to a complete stop? Start worrying. Worry about the what ifs. Dwell on all the things that could happen? Might happen? Should happen? It sucks the life out of you. Quit awfulizing.
I had a client recently gnashing her teeth because her child was going overseas for a month. Her biggest issue was the not knowing. How would they communicate? What is Skype? Where would he be living? So my question was: “How is all this worrying working for you?” Well, it’s not. It’s paralyzing, sleep-depriving…a waste. Worrying or not worrying will not change the outcome.
I’m not saying I don’t understand. I have two twenty-something children who have been more than an hours drive away for the last three years (one 11 hours south and one on the west coast). I have a boyfriend thru hiking the Appalachian Trail with countless obstacles including weather and car size boulders. They are making their own decisions, their own plans and their own mistakes. My worrying or lack of worrying won’t change the outcome. But at least I sleep. This has not always been my M.O. (modus operandi). It’s taken me years to back off the Ledge of Worry.
How to get to worry free in five not-so-easy steps:
1. Decide. You need to simply get on board or not. If you really enjoy thinking of endless ways how your child, your parent or your spouse could be in a car accident. If this is your fuel, then join the fretters club. But if you’re ready to do the mental dump and start living in the moment, then you need to make the commitment. This can’t work unless you do.
2. Optimism. You will need to be optimistic. This will be difficult for the glass-half-empty-people out there. What if everything is going to be better than expected? Maybe the plane is getting in early. Maybe your team will go to the NCAA finals. Maybe the boss’s office door is shut because they are working on your raise. Everything is possible including the windfall, the referral and the next project. Expect the best.
3. Turn it off. The news, that is. I was recently at a hotel in Maine and my boyfriend Roy had the evening news on. OMG. Shootings. Drownings. Murder. Car accidents. My blood pressure went up. My mind starts wandering down horrible trails. What if that was my kid, friend, or coworker? Nothing good can come from the news. 98% is sensationalized and depressing. I’ve taken a clue from my daughter. She gets caught in rain storms without an umbrella or in freezing temperatures with flip flops on. She doesn’t watch the news or the weather. She takes is as it comes. Why ruin the surprise?
4. Moment. As in, Ya Gotta Live in the Moment. This is the most difficult. There is always a certain amount of reflection and planning in life. We just need to stop dwelling on embarrassments, back stabbing and finger pointing. We need to quit anticipating the worst outcome. So your friend has cancer. Worrying for them is not going to help them. Praying for them can. Assuming they will be cured is a much more positive approach. Being with them in the moment is a gift.
5. Alert. Pay attention to your thoughts. No one else will. You need to be vigilant. Pessimism has a way of seeping into our heads. When you get caught in your fourth red light in a row, chill out. It’s going to be fine. Sometimes, I fantasize that if I didn’t get caught at the red light, I would have been some place three minutes earlier and caused a car accident. This was meant to be. Just make sure you’re staying in charge of those fretting thoughts. You are your own sheriff. Clean out the riff raff.
So the next time your spouse/partner is late, imagine that they’re picking up your favorite coffee or scoring tickets to your favorite theater. It will send out positive energy and you will sleep so much better.
What would you do?