You know, never knowing if and when bad things will happen.
Things can change at any moment…
People can hurt you.
You could become injured or ill.
You could lose someone dear to you.
Tomorrow you could make a HUGE mistake or completely fail at something.
Life is full of uncertainty.
And this is especially hard for those of us who struggle with an unhealthy amount of anxious thoughts.
Anxiety takes its toll on me too…trust me.
I really want to help you to overcome this problem in your life.
So I’m sharing 5 things I try to remind myself of regularly… They convince me that I CAN worry less if I choose and give me a big kick of motivation to take control of my anxiety…
1. Most of our fears are highly unlikely or even illogical
If you were to ask yourself the following question…
“How often do my fears or worry’s come true?”,
chances are you’d probably surprise yourself with the following answer “Hmm…hardly ever actually”.
But yet we worry SO much! We worry that we’ll become broke and suffer financially, we worry about meeting that new person because they might reject us, and we worry that we’ll get hurt or become ill.
If you could write a list of all your worries, it would probably take so long that by the time you’d finish, you’d be sitting in a retirement home drinking tea with grandpa Bob.
But let me tell you something astonishing…
Studies actually show us that 85% of what we worry about never happens!
“Man is not worried by real problems so much as by his imagined anxieties about real problems” – Epictetus
This just shows us that it’s so important to constantly challenge and fight our anxious thoughts. We don’t need them. And they don’t need us. So what’s the point of it all really?
2. We are more capable at dealing with a problem than we think
Let’s just say one of those worries on your list did come true…
For instance, you lost your job. Now, your finances are in a mess. You feel vulnerable and you’re super stressed.
Chances are, that’s as bad as your situation will get.
Because within a few weeks you’ll probably figure something out and find a way to resolve the situation. Perhaps you won’t get your dream job immediately, but you’ll be able to support yourself financially again.
Studies show that with the tiny 15% of worries that do come true, most people are surprised with how well they manage to turn the situation around.
Anxiety is linked to two things; overestimating threats and underestimating our ability to cope with them.
This is a typical example of how we can create a worst case scenario in our minds…
Firstly, we don’t give ourselves enough credit for how capable we actually are at dealing with a situation and secondly, we overestimate the chance of something terrible happening.
We really need to have more confidence and faith in ourselves. I know I certainly need to. If anything, I probably worry more than the average person…Yup I said it!! But I know that it’s so pointless!
So just like you, I want to challenge myself. I don’t want to be controlled by my worries…especially when they have absolutely no good purpose.
3. He that fears he will suffer, already suffers because he fears
To constantly fear that something bad will happen is not a pleasant way to live life.
In fact it’s a really sucky way to live.
It’s stressful, it can be almost paralyzing at times, and it really weighs you down.
Life is full of risks! It’s full of challenging moments and it’s very unpredictable. That’s just the way it is.
So why suffer every day from your anxieties? Why live in fear of the unknown? Why worry about the what if’s…When all they do is stop us from enjoying the moment.
Instead, we need to learn to be okay with things not being perfect and to just let go a little.
It’s only when we can learn to let go of perfection, and learn to simply embrace life for what it is, that we can be truly happy.
“The problem is not that there are problems. The problem is expecting otherwise and thinking that having problems is a problem” – Theodore I. Rubin
Something that we also often forget is that it’s the crazy moments in life that make us stronger and wiser than we were before. So really, they are an important part of life….and even something to appreciate.
4. Anxiety skyrockets the stress in our life and damages our health
Over worrying puts a huge strain on our health…both physically and mentally.
The stress you experience every time you find yourself worrying causes your blood pressure to rise, your heart rate to speed up and you’re breathing to get faster.
This is also known as the stress response. Or fight or flight response.
When your body responds this way on a daily basis, it’s very unhealthy. Here’s how;
High blood pressure when stressed causes the artery walls to become thick and stiff. This restricts blood flow making your heart work harder to pump blood throughout the body, and damages our blood vessels.
Overtime, this can cause a heart attack as blood struggles to get to the heart or a stroke as high blood pressure can cause blood vessels to burst.
Sounds pretty scary right?
I know…I’m a little freaked out by it too.
When I first learned about this, I was pretty shocked. But it just made me even more determined to try to calm my mind more and to let go a little. I realize that I can choose to be more easy going and to be okay with things not always being perfect.
“I promise you nothing is as chaotic as it seems. Nothing is worth diminishing your health. Nothing is worth poisoning yourself into stress, anxiety, and fear.” – Steve Maraboli
5. In the game of life, if we don’t put our worries aside and take a risk, we will never hit a home run
Our worries and fears certainly stop us from taking risks.
It’s a way of having more control. As long as we don’t take that risk, we minimize the chances of failing, getting hurt, getting humiliated or being rejected.
It’s only natural to try to protect ourselves.
However, with every risk also comes the possibility of achieving something great.
Taking a risk is what will lead you to meeting the love of your life.
Taking a risk is what will lead you to having your dream job and lifestyle.
Taking a risk is what will lead you to living a life full of meaning and purpose.
Taking a risk is what will bring you to scoring that home run!
Risks don’t just open doors, they open new worlds of possibilities.
And of course sometimes things won’t always work out. Sometimes you’ll fail. Sometimes you’ll humiliate yourself so much that you’ll wish you never had to leave the house again.
You might even get so rejected that for a moment, you lose all your self-confidence. You might even become broke and wonder how you’re going to support yourself and your family!
But you’ll get up again! And you work through it. You’ll be okay.
So whatever you do, don’t let your anxieties bring you to sit on the sidelines in life. Rather, get up, get dirty and tackle your fears.
“He who is not everyday conquering some fear has not learned the secret of life.” – Shannon L. Alder
Stop worrying and start living
Well, there you go…5 incredibly solid reasons to let go and stop being anxious.
You’re probably thinking that it’s much easier said than done.
And you’re right.
It’s not easy to do. It doesn’t happen over night. And sometimes, you’ll wonder if it’s even possible to let go a little and be more easy going.
And I’m certainly not suggesting that we can be completely free of all anxieties.
I just know that most of us worry way too much.
And we compromise our happiness, our health and the way we experience life.
So I challenge you…remember the 5 reasons above.
And make a little effort each day to worry less. Try to accept that life is always going to have ups and downs and that we will never have complete control. So why worry right?