Have you ever lost your sleep worrying about something that has not happened yet?
Are you worried that the future has interrupted your productivity? Your flow? Your day? Your mood?
If you answered "yes", you are not alone.
Concerns happen to everyone, especially when it comes to events, people and things that are important.
The problem of worry is a complete and total waste of our valuable time and energy. We all know it on a logical level, and we still worry.
Here is the good news; Although we never learn how to stop worrying about the future completely, there are ways to help us better manage that concern so we can save ourselves some time. In this article, we will see exactly how to do exactly that.
Concern wastes time and energy
"Worry never takes away his sadness tomorrow, it just ruins his joy today". -Leo F. Buscaglia
Part of the concern of management is to be aware of the costs. When we create awareness, we are better able to create proactive solutions to minimize or eliminate that cost.
- Cost n. ° 1: Worrying about what still has to happen consumes valuable time and mental real estate.
"Worrying is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do, but it never gets you anywhere" -Erma Bombeck
- Cost 2: While worry may give you something to do, chances are you have better things to do with your time and your energy. For example, you could focus on your to-do list or notice the multitude of opportunities that await you. Focusing on concern not only makes it difficult to manage your to-do list, it also prevents you from seeing those opportunities or the steps that carry them out.
- Cost 3: Worrying about the future is also an energy drain that leaves you susceptible to more worries. Did you know that worry takes advantage of times when your energy is low? That's when the worry is more powerful.
- Cost 4: It is a crusher of joy of the present moment that can reduce not only your energy but also your state of mind.
- Cost 5: Speaking of humor; Worry never gets you anywhere. Worry does not take you to a place where everything is fine. He does not make sure everything is solved. Actually, it does the opposite.
- Cost n. ° 6: Worrying about the future creates a vicious circle of more concern for the future.
What worries you the future?
When I worry about the future, I use the following techniques to handle the worry. ( Just a little side note: I like to change it a bit, I use a different technique every time I worry about the future or something worries me about the subject. )
Since worrying about the future takes us to the future, nothing worries faster than a good present moment of mindfulness.
Take a look and notice what surrounds you. Do you see? What do you feel? What proof? What are you listening? What do you smell?
Taking note of your environment through the use of your senses is an incredible way to approach the present moment where worry related to the future can not bother you.
Do Deep Breathing
Have you ever noticed? your breathing when you are worrying? Otherwise, the next time you are concerned about an event related to the future, control your breathing.
Worry makes our breathing go shallow. And, deep breathing can help us to relax and get out of the way of worry.
Here are two techniques to use to capture those deep breaths and give relaxation signal:
The first is 4.4, and 4 technique . Try it right now by breathing deeply through your nose until you count four. Then let the breath come out through the nose or mouth to count four. Do that four times. (Another side note: be sure to do this technique slowly so you do not hyperventilate or get sick)
The second technique is called Oxytocin Breathing because it actually releases the powerful hormone oxytocin in the brain. This is the same hormone that is released when you hug or kiss someone you love or after making love.
Just one word of warning: you may not want to do this breathing technique in the middle of your busy office or a crowded place. It is best to do it in a private place.
Here's how to do breathing with oxytocin:
Take a REALLY DEEP breath to fill your stomach with air. Once you feel that your belly expands to the point where you can no longer take in more air, release it slowly by letting out an audible "Haaaaaaaaaaaahhh".
Repeat this technique several times until you feel relaxed.
Watch this video to see the technique in action.
By the way, worry hates deep breathing, so this is one of the fastest and easiest techniques to use.
Express Extra Gratitude
As you are probably already aware, worry creates negative thoughts (and feelings). Gratitude does the exact opposite.
Since your brain can not think of both positive and negative thoughts at the same time, gratitude is a great source of concern. Not to mention that it is something you can do anywhere, at any time, especially when you have little time.
In fact, I use gratitude when worry wakes me up in the middle of the night. When this happens, I begin to list all the things for which I am grateful until I go back to sleep. It works as a thousand wonders.
Similar to the exercise of the present moment, take a look.
Begin to quickly list at least three things (or more) for which you are grateful. It could be the chair you're sitting on or the pet that sleeps at your feet. Just begin to list and before you know it, the feeling of gratitude will replace the negative feeling that causes the worry.
Lean toward "What would happen if"
It is too common to wish to remove the worry or try to fill it. Especially when you have a deadline set for the project or a calendar full of obligations. However, doing so is just an invitation to keep the concern longer.
Instead of trying to ignore worry, lean over and ask yourself the following question: "What if I worry about what really happened?"
Once you have your answer, ask yourself this follow-up question, "So, what would happen?" Keep asking the follow-up question until you have run out of "then what is".
Always discover that doing this exercise takes away your worry. I also walk away with a plan if it really happens to me what worries me. (Which, by the way, usually does not happen.)
Take Back Control
"If a problem is repairable, if a situation is such that it can do something about it, then there is no need to worry If it is not repairable, then there is no help to worry about, there is no benefit in worrying at all. "- The Dalai Lama
What do you have control over? What can you fix? What can you do to prevent anything that worries you from happening?
For many, worrying creates a feeling of being out of control and not secure. Doing things that are under our control helps us to recover those feelings of control and security.
Squeeze and release
When you are worried, do you often feel tightness in your stomach or neck? Use that tension to help you relax.
It seems funny, but go ahead and squeeze every muscle in your body. Squeeze your legs, suck your stomach, squeeze your butt, squeeze your arms and close your fists. Keep your muscles in that tight position for a moment, and then release all your muscles.
This technique is called progressive muscle relaxation. It fights worry and even stress by creating awareness of how the body feels when relaxed. And when he's relaxed, he's not worried.
Use Worry As A Gauge
Worry serves as a great indicator to let us know what is important and what is not. When you are worrying about something, tune the indicator.
How important is your concern on a scale of 1 to 10? If you gave a 5 or less, ask yourself this question: "Since this thing that worries me is not super important, what is really causing the worry?"
If you gave a 5 or more, then it's time to turn the worry into a motivator to start acting. To help you, go back to the Recovery Control technique and ask yourself those questions.
Write it or speak it
Decreasing the worry in your head diminishes it. It's like the old analogy that if you light a light on the bacteria, it dies. But if you keep it in the dark, it grows.
If you do not feel comfortable talking to a friend, family member, coach, or other trusted professional, try writing about it. Take out everything on paper and then throw it away.
Writing about your concern about the future takes away the burden and creates more clarity and awareness.
Worry has nothing in you
Next time you worry about the future:
- Create awareness about what worries you about worry.
- Use one or more of conflict prevention techniques.
- Remember that you are not alone when it comes to worrying (they all do).
So, there you have it. By following the steps above, you can have a more worry free life so you can recover your valuable time and do things right.
Featured photo credit: freely through freelyphotos.com
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