I overheard a great expression yesterday that got me thinking (as I have many times before) about the wastefulness of worry:
“Don’t meet trouble halfway.”
Do you do this? Fixate on an anticipated problem and, in effect, start behaving as if it were real — devoting your time and energy to thinking about it and agonizing over all the terrible potential outcomes?
The truth is, when you walk out to meet trouble halfway, the overwhelming odds are, you’re going to be stood up! Almost none of the things people worry about ever come to pass.
And those few worries that do materialize into real-life challenges? They won’t be prevented by sitting there worrying about them. It only brings their effects into your life sooner. Meeting trouble halfway…
The next time you find your mind occupied with worry or start a sentence with, “I’m worried about…”, take a step back and ask yourself: Is this worry based in any sort of fact or truth?
For example, are you worried about the stability of your job because of the state of “the market” or “the economy”… or because you know you haven’t been performing at the top of your game lately? Are you worried about your health because of a lingering ache or pain that hasn’t improved… or because of a general, non-specific fear that “something bad” might happen?
Conscious concerns vs. wasteful worries
Reality-based worries are legitimate concerns. But worrying is the 100% wrong response to them. Instead, DO something about those concerns. As soon as possible. Make an appointment with your doctor. Refocus at work, talk to your boss if you need to. Write down a list of the ACTIONS you can take that will give you control of the events that create your actual future, instead of allowing fear of an imagined future control you. Then get at it.
Worry of the vaguer, more free-floating variety, about imagined outcomes or events beyond your control, is simply a case of choosing negative thoughts over positive ones.
The key word there is ‘choosing’. Which means the remedy is also simple.
Every time a worrisome thought bubbles up, you must purposefully, proactively replace the accompanying mental images with different, better ones. There are a million ways to do this. You can:[icon_list icon=”icon-ok”] [li] Read a page or chapter from a book that inspires you [/li] [li] Watch a movie or TV show you know will make you laugh [/li] [li] rite a list of all the things you’re grateful for [/li] [li] Make something beautiful: a flower arrangement, a meal, [/li] [li] Shout, “NEXT!” [/li][/icon_list]
There is nothing less productive, or more destructive, than worrying — and there’s no reason to do it! You always have the power to eliminate your worries, either by taking a new ACTION, or choosing a new THOUGHT.
Ditch the date with trouble. You’ve got much better ways to spend your time!