Posted by Tim Stobbs on February 4, 2015
Did you notice that the other day? That people around you seem to be suffering from near permanent low level anxiety or worry about everything? They have problems falling asleep and even if they do that they wake up in the middle of the night thinking about things. They worry about their losing their jobs, paying their bills, making sure their kids get a good education or even their next vacation. There is a lot of worry in the world.
Or not. It is possible to have a life where you rarely worry about much of anything. I live it most of the time.
No, I don’t drug myself to hit this state of bliss, or learned some secret meditation, but rather I control a few inputs into my life to achieve a lack of concern about the worry that haunts a lot of people. I find the following are the key points that work to kill worry for me: I have a financial cushion, I know what I can’t control and I control the amount of media I consume.
The first one is rather obvious when you think about it. Concerns about losing your job, paying your bills or the economy in general can all be put to rest just by having some money put aside for those unexpected things in life. Every year I track my spending the same thing happens…something comes up I didn’t expect. It could be a broken fridge, a vet bill for the dog, an extra trip we weren’t planning on taking for a wedding or whatever. Yet it always happens, so rather than freak out about it and worry…just keep some savings around to cover the costs that come up. Shockingly easy when you think about it, but so many people don’t have some kind of savings to cushion them when things go wrong.
Next up, if you pay attention to the media via the evening news on TV, the newspaper or even magazines you might very well think the world is going downhill all the time. Yet in fact when you look into some statistics you might find the very opposite to be true. A classic example is crime. If you want the news you might think things are getting worse out there with stories coming out about crime all over Canada, this is also fed by our politicians ‘tough on crime’ agenda. But in fact since 2003 in Canada the Crime Severity Index has decreased by 36%. In reality things are getting safer, but due to the ability to push a story out from anywhere in minutes we might be left with the impression there is something to worry about. So the solution to this is just consume less media. I now only skim the headlines daily and skip the vast majority of coverage around crimes. I realize I just don’t care about 95% of it. It doesn’t impact my life unless I let it, so why even worry about it.
Which brings me to last point, learning to accept what you can control in your life. You might have noticed your lack of control on the following: other drivers on the road, the weather, your duties at your job, your family, the stock market, the price of just about everything in your life…well when you really come down to it you don’t control just about anything. Except your head. That you do control. So let go of trying to control things that you can’t control anyway. Accept the fact you can’t control the vast majority of your life external to you, but you can control how you feel about things. You do control your feelings. So when a driver cuts you off you can be angry or feel pity. Your choice. Fear, anger, hate, worry….don’t seem to help much (and can lead to the Dark Side of the Force…Yoda is on to something I tell you). So try to be positive about things and accept your lack of control.
In the end, most of your problems in life really just exist between your ears. Your perception of your world is your world so don’t under estimate the power you have to change your life. Recall that only 10% of your happiness comes from your circumstances, so take some control of that remaining 90% and stop worrying about things. It doesn’t really help you in the end, so let go of it and try to move on. It isn’t a easy thing to change and yes it does take time, but the rewards of changing it are priceless like good sleeps just about every night and not worrying about things most of the time.
How do you stop worrying? I’m curious what others have found helpful.