A few years ago I worried… a lot! I worried about work, relationships, meeting new people, meeting important people, development, not having money, about almost everything! I then learnt to control my worries and fears and would like to share them with you.
You will know, from personal experience, that when you are worried it becomes all consuming. When you are worried about something, it touches all parts of your life… It creates stress, it creates anxiety. If it continues, it can have health implications too, such as depression and even physical ailments.
“Don’t worry about a thing, because every little thing is gonna be alright”
Where does worry come from?
The bottom line is, we create our own worry… it is an uncomfortable truth that is often avoided. In our lives the meaning we give to external stimulus is what will create our emotions and reactions.
For example, two people in identical jobs, with identical capability, could be asked to complete an identical task in an identically short timeframe.
For the first person, the meaning could be “it’s impossible to do this task that quickly” and for the second person the meaning could be “this is a great opportunity to show what I can do”.
The meaning creates the feeling… the first person is likely to feel stressed, worried and unenthusiastic, based on their meaning. The second person will probably feel enthused, eager and focused because of the meaning they gave… The external stimulus was identical, but the internal feeling can be whatever you decide it to be.
When I found out that all my worry was my creation, I firstly denied it… it was others fault I felt this way, not mine!
Then, as I accepted the reality, I worked hard to change the meaning I gave to challenges… Over the last few years I have got significantly better at eliminating worry from my life. I did it by researching how the most successful people in the world overcame worry… I practised every single day and I started teaching it to other leaders, with great results.
If you do have worry in your life and it is causing stress or anxiety, then I would like to share the four strategies that have helped me and countless others in the battle against worry!
Break it down into smaller chunks and identify what is important
This will be advice you have been told before. It is a simple theory and common knowledge, however common knowledge doesn’t mean common practice. Write down all of the tasks that need to be done in order to solve the worrying issue, therefore breaking the big worry into smaller segments.
Then go through the list of tasks and rate them in order of how much effect they will have towards solving the challenge.
Pretty much every single time you will notice that approximately 20% of the tasks you have written down will solve about 80% of the issues you are worrying about.
Therefore, by writing down the tasks and ranking them for effectiveness, you will instantly feel less worry, as your problem’s will feel significantly smaller and you only have to do 20% of the work and it’s almost completed!
Identify silver linings
If you want to improve the quality of your life, improve the questions you ask yourself… We all have those situations/tasks/people that we dread and worry about encountering. There lies the problem… When we expect to worry or expect to feel dread, then we will look for and identify those aspects more readily.
How about asking ourselves “How can I do this and have fun at the same time?”
or rate your expectation of the event out of 10, then ask “What do I need to do to make this a (2 points higher than you rated it)?”
You are a capable and fantastically creative person… your brain can get the answers to anything, you just have to ask better questions. Try it… It’s amazing how well it works!
Focus on the next move
We have this myth that success or failure is a single big event, so when we have something worrying us we act like the preverbal rabbit in the headlights and freeze to the spot! In our less-dramatic reality we more often stop making decisions, because we are worried the decision needs to be massive and it needs to be right… otherwise total disaster will await.
The truth is that success and failure come through small actions, consistently done over a period of time… So with that in mind, ANY decision and action is better than none… and it certainly doesn’t have to be life altering action. A small step will do.
Once you have taken some action, learn from it… did it work? If it did carry on moving in that direction, if not make a different choice and take that action. Then repeat the process again and again until the challenge has been beaten.
You will feel less worry because you are taking action and you will know you are making progress… even if that progress is learning you have to do something else!
Another commonly issued piece of advice that is commonly ignored in equal measures… If something is worrying you, then ask yourself questions that will help create perspective.
Ask “How worried will I be about this problem in 1 year?” If that doesn’t work what about 5 years time? or 10 years from now? How about 30 years from now?
Or to really shock your system “How much would I worry about this, if I had only 6 months to live?”
Ask these questions and honestly answer back… almost every time you will recognise that the big worries are about minor things, which will help you gain more perspective and reduce your worry levels.
Circle of control
Really simple… Is what you are worrying about in your control?
If it is, start taking action to remedy it.
If it’s not in your control… Then how does worrying help? It doesn’t… in fact nothing will help if it is not in your control. Except this truth and let go of your worry. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen whether you worry or not… Don’t cause yourself added pain, stress and anxiety by worrying!
Don’t let worry, stress or anxiety rule your life… You decide the meaning you give to everything in your life.
Don’t choose to be worried, choose to embrace, enjoy and live an exceptional life!