Post No.: 0446
Sometimes, a few truisms and motivational quotes – even if they’re clichés or rationalisations – genuinely work to pick us up when we’re consumed with worry or feeling down. So here are some if you need a boost!..
The past is over and what affects tomorrow is today, so have no worry about tomorrow and simply get on with the present – one day at a time, one step at a time. Live, enjoy and concentrate on today. Go ‘seize the day’!
Many modern-world stresses are dependent upon one’s perspective. For example, if you’re stressing about a work deadline then realise that you at least have a job and an opportunity to meet that deadline. Or if you feel like you’re growing old then that at least means you didn’t die young. So take stock and count your blessings.
Your first reaction to a problem may be panic but take a few deep breaths and reappraise the situation by looking at the positives. If a problem can be feasibly solved then solve it i.e. change the situation. But if a problem cannot be feasibly solved then it’s time to put things into perspective, distance yourself from the problem and/or work around it i.e. change how you react to the situation.
Basically, have the courage to change the things you can and accept the things you cannot. Don’t worry about something that’s out of your hands. Let it be. Believing that something was ‘meant to be’ or ‘you didn’t want it anyway’ can be adaptive in such contexts.
Look forward to the time after an event that worries you, like an exam. Practice arouses courage and confidence – the more you rehearse or experience something, the less you’ll worry about doing or facing it. So rather than worry about the event – constructively plan and prepare for it. Worry is what occupies the mind when we’re not productively doing anything to help prevent or tackle a (perceived) problem. It may be difficult to get started but once you do, you’ll have no time left to worry. Alternatively, do something you enjoy to forget about your troubles if you cannot do anything about them. Lose yourself in some work or a hobby. However, we must also watch out for burnout (read Post No.: 0413) or the neglect of duties – we still need to achieve a good work-life balance every single day.
Don’t worry about events that the statistical odds say won’t likely happen. Most things that we worry about never actually happen so it’s futile to worry about them at all. Having said that, we shouldn’t let small risks grow into big risks – we should nip them in the bud. This again means doing something that productively prevents a problem rather than merely worrying about it – we feel more in control and therefore less helpless when we feel like we’re doing something that’ll ameliorate a situation (whether what we’re doing is truly effective or not).
If things do go wrong – just think ‘what’s the worst that could realistically happen?’ Make one list of pros and one list of cons and assign a weighting to all of those points, then see if the problem is still as big as you think it is. If it isn’t then bin the page. If it is then prepare to accept the situation if necessary and calmly work to improve on it. Plan your way towards happiness. Write down the problem, get the facts (arm yourself with knowledge), analyse those facts, calmly formulate your options in a list, decide what to do, break the task down into manageable chunks, then act on it and don’t ever look back. Again, the best way to deal with worry is through positive action rather than rumination.
Put a limit on your worries or arguments depending on how much they really matter to your whole life, and then forget about them. For example, is winning an argument about who fed the dog last going to matter in a few hours? (I personally don’t care who feeds me as long as I’m fed – woof woof!) Don’t pay any argument more than it’s worth.
Although it seldom works when others tell you this – telling yourself to ‘keep your chin up’ when you’re ready to face your concerns can help. Think and act cheerful – ‘fake it to make it’ in this context, for we’ll start to feel more confident when we stand up straighter, and not just stand up straighter when we feel confident. Fight and don’t give in, or simply shrug your troubles off if they’re not worth it because life’s too short to be worried about trivial, petty and insignificant things or people. Laugh things off – don’t take everything too seriously!
Bury the past. Worrying about what has happened is time and energy wasted that could be spent on finding a solution or moving on. No problem is permanent – anything can be solved by tackling it at the core (the root cause). And if nothing is permanent then nothing should ever worry us permanently. Time and patience alone are also frequently healers, so hang in there!
When you’ve hit rock bottom and survived, it makes every lesser problem relatively insignificant and easier to not worry about. Surviving hardships make you tougher and can make you start to ‘live’ instead of merely ‘exist’ because you’ve finally realised what’s truly important in life and what isn’t. Or if this moment is a new rock bottom then the only way is up! Anyone can capitalise on their gains – can you turn your failures into opportunities? ‘It’s not about how hard you hit – it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.’ Resilience is about how you get up again, not about whether you ever fall.
Always remember that many, perhaps even most, people in this world have it worse than you; and that the Sun shines for everyone. Probably 90% of the things in your life are tickety-boo so be mindful of and thankful for them instead of worrying about the other 10%. Always look at the silver linings of any event – count your blessings, not your troubles. Money comes and goes. You win some and lose some. Even businesses write-off debts that aren’t worth chasing. We can close-off chapters in our lives and consign them to history – taking only the lessons with us as we start new chapters.
There are likely, for every small handful of people who are against you, hundreds of people who are behind you or would be behind you, especially if you are doing a good deed. We tend to focus on those relatively few negative people and their comments but they can be sacrificed very comfortably for the many so don’t bother chasing the former for their approval. They don’t believe in you so don’t believe them. Know that you are not bad (unless you are doing something bad(!))
If people criticise or mock you unfairly, it could be because they’re jealous, spiteful and it speaks more about their own insecurities, and their aim is to try to knock you down to make themselves feel better at your expense. Unwarranted criticism is sometimes a disguised compliment about your importance and significance. Or if the criticism is fair and constructive – be humble, listen to it and take it on board to seek self-improvement with constructive action again. Do your genuine best and harsh criticism will hold no truth. No one’s ever perfect.
Hate only gives the other person power over us and we can choose whether or not to feel humiliated. Rise above, pity the fool, and forgive or forget about them if appropriate. Don’t waste time or energy on them. Don’t turn into a ‘bitch’ in retaliation (not a female dog – they’re cool). Don’t grow up bitter and grumpy because no one likes bitter and grumpy people. Happiness is the best revenge you can deal against anyone who has hurt you.
If someone doesn’t like you, want to support you or whatever then they might have their legitimate reasons – which is a lesson in assuming the best in people rather than the worst when we don’t have enough information.
And if you love then love without an agenda. Give for the joy of giving rather than for the expectation of receiving. Due to empathy, making others happy makes us happy too. So try to think about how you can make someone smile every day – smiles are contagious :). When you think of others, you stop thinking about yourself, and that includes any worries about things you cannot control too; although do tend to your own needs and offer yourself some self-compassion too. Be interested in others as individual human beings.
If you suddenly feel some stress bubbling up – consciously relax your muscles, breathe deeply and slowly, close your eyes and think of serenity. Take a short break if required.
Make daily plans of what you need to do. Prioritise the important work and set a goal or target for each day. Give yourself a pep talk every morning before getting out of bed if that helps. Have order and keep tidy. Focus on only one task at a time. Clear your workspace of anything not related to the immediate task at hand. Deal with one thing before beginning the next if possible. Have a backup plan. Make backups of work – they can be absolute lifesavers!
If you encounter a new problem during your day, deal with it there and then if you can, or schedule it for when you can deal with it and then don’t think about it again until then. Compartmentalise the problem – don’t carry problems from one part of your life onto others. And the more you rush and panic, the more mistakes you might make.
Delegate work. Ask for help. You are not a ‘one person army’. Good people are always sharing something with you somewhere in this world even when you think you’re alone. Asking for help is like offloading a great weight from your mind. We help others and they help us and that’s the norm – it’s never embarrassing to ask for help when we really need it; just like we don’t find it embarrassing if others ask us for help when they really need it (we often feel flattered even). Write your thoughts down, talk with others about what’s on your mind.
Fatigue isn’t usually caused by the physical amount of work itself but by worry, frustration and resentment. If you have to do something anyway then why not have a good time doing it? Make a dull job interesting or act as if it is – give everything zest and enthusiasm!
Exercise regularly and eat well – keep physically healthy to stay mentally healthy. Protect your bedtime every night too.
Overall, worry evolved and is adaptive when we do something about a source of concern – but it’s maladaptive when it remains as just an incessantly ruminating thought without action. So the main way to tackle worry is via positive and productive action.
And yesterday was in yesterday’s newspaper and tomorrow is yet written. Only today is in our paws so only today and now should be on our minds. Or look forwards with positivity and optimism, not backwards with regrets. Believe that your destiny is in your control.
If you’re doing no harm to yourself or anyone else then be yourself and express your own ideas. You are your own person; albeit this doesn’t necessarily mean being a lone wolf. If you’ve done something you feel guilty about – work towards making amends. Life is but a perception of relative things that are finite – one person’s joy can be another’s pain, so stand at a perspective that makes you happy in life.
…I hope at least something above struck a chord and made your inner fire burn a bit brighter. Now get in the ring! (Cue Rocky theme…)