Saturday, July 5, 2008

You Don’t Have Time to Worry

Worried little girl by txd

How true, how true. Most of us are so busy we don’t have time for living. How could we possibly have time to waste on worrying? Yet hundreds of thousands of us do it all the time. We are plagued by financial concerns, relationship troubles, and difficulties at work. We worry about things that have already happened, our past mistakes, as well as things that could possibly happen, or might come true in the future.

Worry, fear and anxiety steal the joy from our happy moments; it steals the energy and health from our bodies, and steals the wisdom and strength from our minds. To live a more robust, vigorous, productive and joyful life we need to put worry in its place. Slow down the avalanche of negative thoughts that bombard us every day. Try some of the tips below to help you get started:

  • Write down your worries. Just the simple act of writing things down is very freeing. It takes away the fear that you might forget something important. It allows your mind to concentrate on the present moment. You are able to deal solely with whatever is happening in the now. It gives you the freedom to take action on your current situation without the distraction of problems that are temporarily out of your control.
  • Put a stop to your fears. Many people go through a snowball effect of worry. Perhaps you are worried about having enough money to pay your bills. You may start imagining worst-case scenarios where you lose your job, your car, your house and your spouse. When you recognize this kind of out-of-control fear grabbing hold of you, say aloud to yourself “Stop it. Calm down, you have a good plan.” Learn to put a halt to your unrestrained imagination. Remind yourself of the solutions you have already come up with to deal with your problem.
  • Take a news break. One way we tend to worry more than we should is by paying attention to negative events and situations. Anyone who watches the daily news understands how filling your mind with tragedies, natural disasters, death and money troubles, even if they all belong to someone else can fill you with anxiety and stress. Turn off the TV and stay away from newspapers and magazines for a while. Your mind and body will thank you.
  • Learn to relax. Scheduling daily quiet time into your day is a must to get your worry and fear under control. When you are busy and overwhelmed with getting things done, you don’t allow yourself the space for peaceful, calming thoughts and feelings. Breathing deeply, listening to soothing music, or repeating positive thoughts to yourself can counteract your panic and apprehension. Sitting outside under the sun or stars for just 15 minutes can slow down your thoughts, brining clarity and peace.
  • Set a time limit. If you can’t stop a worry or concern from straying into your thoughts, set aside time to address it. Put aside at least 15 minutes to an hour. Write down what’s bothering you and your ideas to correct it. If you need to, call a friend to ask advice, visit a professional on the subject or get a good book from the library to help. By knowing you have a set time to deal with your problems you are less likely to experience the doubt, uncertainty and uneasiness of facing the unknown.
  • Find a good distraction. When your worries are trivial or insignificant, try finding a more useful diversion. Some people find doing a constructive chore, like cleaning, exercising, or taking care of the kids a good way to keep their minds focused on the here and now. If you do this each time your thinking goes astray you may be able to stop the worry habit in its tracks. Life is too short to spend it fearing things that may never happen. Why not arrange your photo album, find new dinner recipes, or sort your belongings for your next garage sale instead?

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