Do you want to worry less?
Of course you do, right? That’s like me asking if I could send you free bacon (or the tofu equivalent).
Worry is like black mold – it springs up in soggy conditions. Spreads uncontrollably. And often times we don’t realize it’s there until it’s literally killing us.
I’m speaking from experience here because I struggle with worry. Big time.
Each day is full of ripe opportunities to be anxious about something – finances, relationships, my kids, and all the unknowns. I even worry about how much I worry.
But we need to stop. Because…
Worry crushes creativity.
Worry warps wisdom.
Worry pummels peace.
We must wreck worry before it wrecks us.
Here’s seven strategic ways to punch worry where it hurts.
1. Do What You Need to Do
I can’t tell you how much of my worry comes because I’m simply not doing what I know I should be doing. I’m lost on the Internet when I have a deadline. I’m avoiding projects or hard conversations.
I don’t do what I know I should be doing, and then I spend the rest of the time worried I’m not doing what I should be doing. Even an insane person would tell you that’s crazy.
Often times the angst and anxiety that comes from worrying is much worse than the task we’re worried about.
Photo Credit: Paul Angone
2. Make a “Wow! I’m Insanely Blessed” List
How many times have you come up against something that you thought, this time, without a doubt, you were dead meat. And then out of nowhere, the answer, the open door, the finances, the wisdom you needed arrives and everything works out better than you ever could’ve dreamed.
Your greatest fears that you were sure had no answer usually end up solving themselves.
We’ve been blessed so many times, so why do we continually keep expecting the opposite?
If you keep worrying that you’re in deep crap, that’s exactly how you’re going to feel.
“Most folks are as happy as they have made up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln
3. Get Intentional
I think many of us act like we’re puppets in a play and we’re waiting for something or someone to put us in the right place.
We need to stop letting life just happen. We need to live on purpose. Nothing breeds worry like purposelessness.
“About one third of my patients are suffering from no clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and emptiness of their lives.” – Carl Jung
Define what you want from this life and take steps towards it.
The most important thing we can do with this life is actually live it.
4. Make Plans (then make plans to make new plans)
You can’t have intentionality without making plans.
Yet, don’t place your plans in stone. Make your plans with Play-Doh — malleable, adaptable, and fluid.
But the more comfortable you are with the uncomfortable, the less you will worry when things become worrisome.
Accept change. Make new plans. Then move forward.
5. Stop Smoking Your iPhone
The iPhone is our generation’s cigarette.
We are the Refresh Generation – constantly getting a hit from our phone for the latest update.
Some of us (myself included) need to admit we have a social media and iPhone addiction. And this addiction breeds in us Obsessive Comparison Disorder, worry, and anxiety.
We can’t fill every second where we should be resting and reflecting with frantic refreshing.
The worst way to be refreshed is continually refreshing your phone.
6. Take a Creative Break
There are powerful healing and calming effects in taking time out to create something. The artists at Plumb write that taking an art break “boosts immune system functioning, reduces anxiety and stress reaction, aids healing, and, of course, increases creative growth.”
Worried about something? Maybe it’s time to take out a pencil, water colors or Photoshop and get creative.
7. Serve Others
Sometimes the best way you can be intentional about your life is being intentional about helping others.
Sometimes the best cure for your problems is by helping someone else solve theirs.
As Dale Carnegie of the famed How to Worry Less and Start Living wrote:
“It is utterly impossible for any human mind, no matter how brilliant, to think of more than one thing at any given time.”
Get out of your own head for a little while and you might find there’s actually light on the outside.
We’d love to hear from you in the comments below:
What strategy helps you from worrying?