How to stop worrying

Posted: October 26, 2011 in Self improvement

That the birds of worry and care fly over you head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent.  ~Chinese Proverb

Okay worry is a bad thing, it’s a life killer. People can literally waste their entire life just worrying about things that usually never happen. Here I’m going to try and explore what the main worries that effect people lives and then give advise on how to reduce and manage them all.

Worried I should be doing something

Life is complicated. In the past life would be very repetitive, daily routine was simple you could keep in you head what you need to do without to much stress. Now we have complicated jobs that change day in day out, extreme hobbies and multiple social circle that we move between. The human brain can keep around 7 things in its short term memory, as soon as you have 8/9 you start to forget things. Therefore your mind stresses about the things you need to do. In my opinion their is only 1 real approach that can fix this for you. That I believe is the Getting thinks done system:

These are my actionable points:

Follow the GTD system: The concept is simple, have 1 system which you can store your To Do list in, if you trust this system, then your mind can allow yourself to stop thinking about things. My personal recommendation is to get the book.

Learn to say no: If your stressed about having to much to do, you probable need to have less to do. Lots of people have trouble saying no to thing when they are asked to do them.

Get a simpler phone: At the moment a good smart phone will allow you to work anywhere at any time. This means that you have no excuse to not work constantly. Just by having a simpler phone you give your self permission to not worry about doing things at time like when on public transport so on. If you bored get a book or better still learn mindful meditation.

Worried about the outcome

Worrying about an outcome is very natural and can cause fear of doing things. Fear is a very limiting factor in most peoples lives actually if we all had no fear we would probable all be twice as happy, minus the extra people who would die in extreme sports accidents. These are my best solutions for dealing with fear.

Embrace failure as a positive thing: Nothing good happens without failure. You can’t learn any skill without failing. Failure is GOOD it’s a sign you are learning, it’s a sign you are growing. Learn to appreciate failure and pat your on the back every time you try.

Live in the moment: Now this is very hard to do. The more you can live in the moment the more happy and worry free you will be. Actual scrap everything in this post if you can read the power of now and absolutely give yourself over to it you won’t need any of it. Otherwise meditation can help.

Practice the Sedona Method: The Sedona method designed to release negative feeling attached to things. This method is designed to clear you out so you can approach life without so much baggage. I will try and write up more on this when I get time.

Get positive affirmation: Where the Sedona method is clearing down baggage, affirmation and visualisation is about building up positive life affirming mental habits.

Go see a therapist: Sometimes you can see the problem, it is often very useful to have qualified outer eye even if it is just for the purpose of identifying where your problems are. On the guru page I should be listing multiple guru which have been very useful to me in my personal journey.

Feel the fear and do it anyway: Ultimately the only real way to get rid of fear is to tackle it, this means pushing through and doing what you are scared of. Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to do without actual making the leap of faith. This is wonderfully explored in this book:

Have I made the right choice

In the past everything was simpler, you grew up you worked in the job for father had and then you married the farm girl from next door. You didn’t need to think about it, it was all laid out and obvious. Now we have choice, horrible, horrible choice. You need to make up your mind on everything and chances are you could have made a better choice. Here is a wonderful video given by Barry Schwartz explaining why the massive amount of choice we have these days actively is making us more miserable and worried.

So what can you actively do to reduce worrying about choice.

Hire advisers: Paying someone (usually an expert) to make decisions for you, has a massive hidden benefit, you do not have to worry that you have made the right decision. You don’t know what you missing, you don’t have to think about that. I hire a personal shopper and I believe her to be incredible good value for money, not only do I have a great wardrobe, I cut my shopping time by a half and I don’t have to worry about what I’m wearing!

Make a couple of set decision and stick to them: Their are a couple of choices that you would need to make every day. What breakfast to have, how to get to work, what to wear, these seems simple but they take up brain space, my advice is to research and make a educated decision on them then stick to them.

Minimises adverts: I touch on this a couple of times, but adverts are very often designed to make you worry you are not good enough in order to sell you something. Try to cut down on the amount of advert you need to watch. If you have a website that you use a lot and you can upgrade to get rid of the advert, it might be worth it. Other things you can do is fast forward ads on telly, avoid magazines (sometime they can be upto 90% adverts) and listen to the BBC (if we have to pay the licence fee then we might as well benefit).

Aim for good enough: Looking for the best choice usually means you are going to be less happy with the choice you made (as mentioned in the video above). However if you aim for good enough the chances are you will be more happy with it. So for example if you try to book in to the perfect restaurant for a date, you are likely to spend your whole time noticing all the things wrong with it, however if you just book a place which is go enough then the chances are you will be pleasantly surprised.

Worried the world will fall apart!

The world is on the edge of a new recession and global warming is going to kill us and the Chinese are going to take all our jobs and the aliens were just waiting for Chuck Norris to get old they could invade and …

4 horse men

These day we are more educated than ever, we also are constantly told how ‘enpowered’ we are. This means that we are now prone to worry about everything, we can see our long term effect of every action we make. Look at some of these conclusions you can draw:

  • Buying a fridge = Destroying the environment
  • Buying trainers = Enslaving children
  • Watching pirated video = Supporting sex trafficking (this was a actual advert, I still can’t figure out the connection)
  • Drinking Coffee = Giving yourself cancer
  • Buying things made in China = Causing the recession

These are just some of the things that I can think of off the top of my head. These days everything you do has massive wide spread effect and thanks to the news and the internet you are now aware of it, also the empowered you should stand up and do something about it.  For GOD SAKE how can YOU let this MADNESS continue.

You can’t solve the world problems, but you can do some stuff to calm yourself down.

Realise you are not that well clued up: The world is a massive complicated thing a massive mess of cause and effect. You however only have a very very small insight into it. Give yourself a break.

Only worry about things within your control: Their are things in life you power over and then are things you have little to no power over. In my opinion you should concentrate all you effort on the things that you have a lot of power over and everything just leave up to fate. These things you have a lot of control over: Your body, your social group, your partner, your house, your job. These things you have little control over: Politics, wars, science, other countries, celebrities, sport teams performance. The environment is an odd one, you have a little control over the damage done, but it’s tiny compared to what good / harm can be done be government / big business. My opinion, do all that people request of you (recycle so on) and past that point don’t worry.

Accept you are going to die: Face it you will die, this isn’t an option you can’t live healthy to make sure you don’t, no amount of exercise will prevent it. You will die, accept it now start using your time.

Realise how little effect most stuff has on your quality of life: Once people basic needs are met,  food, shelter, companionship, sex. Most other things have little effect on your quality of life. Better car, bigger TV, flasher watch may give you a spike of happiness but the effect wares off very quickly. Even if the economy completely fell apart chances are your quality of life would not be affected that much.

Realise 99% of the time it doesn’t happen: Do you remember bird flu scare, that was suppose to kill millions, didn’t happen. Remember the recession, world didn’t fall apart.  World was suppose to end in 2012, rapture is late. Get the idea most the major of scares just never come to pass.

Cut down on the news / adverts: These things are designed to make you worry in order to get you to do something, usually keep watching or spend money.  Try to minimise  this, don’t pick up a paper, record telly so you can fast forward the adverts, take the instant news apps off your phone. Your attention is one of your scarcest assets don’t waste them on scaremongering.

Hope this helps!

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