“Keeping in the habit of using deep breathing, yoga, meditation, sports, music therapy or whatever other stress-reducing exercise you enjoy will be of great benefit during high-stress times.”
One of the worst characteristics of worry and stress is that they can completely overtake your life when they get out of control. Too much worry can be paralyzing; it can stop you from enjoying even the happiest moments of your life. One great way to keep worries from interfering with your life is to learn how to “rightsize” your worries and stop sweating the small stuff.
If you think of worry as a form of stress, you can see how it can be a negative force in your life. Worrying about putting food on the table for your family or about your grades in school may motivate you, but at the cost of added stress. Get into the habit of not “worrying” about issues but instead recognizing them as things that you do or don’t want in your life, and change your focus to the solution and the success associated with the solution.
The second step in rightsizing worries is figuring out what you can control. No matter how big or small your worry is, if there is truly nothing you can do to influence the situation, you should let go of that particular worry. For example, if you are worried about a meeting you will have with your boss in the morning but you have already done everything you can to prepare for it, then allowing yourself to worry will not help the situation. Worrying about it will only create more stress for you. Again, it is much better for your health to focus on the solution.
At times like this, you need to change your focus. Instead of worrying about the meeting, focus on having a nice evening with your family. Pay attention and hold on to the feelings of happiness you get out of their love. Soon you will be so focused on the joy around you that you will forget to worry about the meeting. Better still, when you do think about the meeting, your mind will be focused on positives, so the actual worry won’t feel nearly as strong.
As worries come throughout the day, always ask yourself: Can I do anything about this worry? If you answer “no,” you can safely let go of that particular worry. Eventually, this process will become second nature and worries will come and go before you realize you processed them.
Worries of all sizes often come at night as we try to fall asleep. The longer we focus on them, the bigger they feel and the harder it is to fall asleep. When this happens, it is once again time to change your focus. First, break the negative thought pattern by recognizing what it is. Allow yourself to acknowledge that you are feeling worried, but also realize that there is nothing you can do about it at this moment. Then consciously shift your thinking to something pleasant, such as a pleasant memory or an upcoming event that is sure to be filled with joy.
There will always be worries and stress in life. That is inevitable. The more you can right-size your worries, the better quality of life you will have. However, because there will always be some amount of worry, it is also very beneficial to adopt stress-reducing activities. During relatively calm periods of life, you may only need to do them once or twice a week. But keeping in the habit of using deep breathing, yoga, meditation, sports, music therapy or whatever other stress-reducing exercise you enjoy will be of great benefit during high-stress times.
Rightsizing your worries keeps you from overwhelming yourself with stress and negative thoughts. When you don’t sweat the small stuff, there is more room in your life for joy and happiness.
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