How You Can Start Worrying Less

There I was, sprinting through the Denver airport, a little worried because I was a little short on time. I had just cleared security, which had taken me a bit longer than I’d been expecting. I skipped the packed escalator, dropping down the stairs two at a time with a backpack on and a duffel bag in my hand. When I hit the ground, I glanced up at the screen above the train doors. Next train was in 2 minutes.

If you haven’t been through the Denver airport, I’ll let you know how it works. There’s a train that takes you from security to each terminal. They come about every two minutes, so I had just missed it. I walked all the way down to the end of the platform, so I’d be at the front of the train when it got there. Not that it mattered. Both ends of the train let out near an escalator, and they both come out at about the same place. But I needed to feel like I was doing something.

When the train got there, I got on and stood very impatiently for a couple minutes until it started to move. But then I realized something. It didn’t matter how impatient I was. It didn’t matter how much I worried about being late to board my flight. None of that was going to change anything.

Worrying is always a waste of time

Let’s start off with a statistic. This Huffington Post article states that 85% of the things we worry about never come true. Eighty-five percent. Almost all of it. How ridiculous is that? Most of the time we spend worrying, we’re worrying about things that aren’t even going to happen.

But let’s back up a little further still. Let’s look at 100% of the things we worry about. In any of those situations, any of them at all, is there anything we can change by worrying? No. Maybe sometimes that worry will lead us to actions that will help the situation. But the worrying itself? Never helpful. Ever. It just creates stress and negatively affects our health.

Let’s look at the Bible for a minute. I know some of you aren’t into the Bible, and that’s okay. In Matthew 6:27, Jesus Himself asks “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” This sums it up perfectly. There is no good that can come from worrying. Jesus tells us to just chill and trust Him to take care of us. Even if you’re not religious, what you can take away from this is that things are going to happen the way they’re going to happen. Worrying won’t change a thing.

What we can do about it

The answer here is very individualized, so I’m going to do my best to cover the basics, and let you know what works for me. I hope it serves as a guideline to help you figure out what works for you.

Think it through logically. This is something you can practice no matter who you are. I mentioned in my post about positivity something called Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. It’s under the first subheading, “positivity,” and those couple paragraphs sum it up. But basically it involves taking a worrisome thought (“I’m going to miss my flight”), listing out evidence in your head, and then turning it into a balanced thought (“I’m a couple minutes behind, but there’s still plenty of time”).

Prayer and mediation also work for me. Regardless of your religious views or practices, having a spiritual outlet can be very calming. It’s not the be-all and end-all of curing my worry and anxiety. But being able to sit and quietly turn my focus elsewhere is a huge help. Whether it’s turning over my worries to the Lord, or just taking a moment to observe my thoughts and let them go, I come out of it calmer.

Summing up

  • Most of the things we worry about don’t come true, and all of our worrying is a waste of energy.
  • When you’re worried about something, thinking it through and trying to turn your negative thoughts into balanced ones can be effective.
  • Prayer/meditation can help calm you down and accept the situation as it is.

So the next time you’re stressed, I hope you’re able to think back on this post and find one or more of these things helps you out. If you do, or if you have any similar experiences to share, or anything to add, let me know in the comments! I’d love to hear from you.

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