Have you ever lost sleep worrying about something that has yet to happen?
Has worrying about the future interrupted your productivity? Your flow? Your day? Your mood?
If you answered “yes”, you are not alone.
Worry happens to all of us, particularly when it comes to events, people, and things that are important.
The trouble with worry is it is a complete and total waste of our valuable time and energy. We all know that on a logical level, and yet we still worry.
4 Reasons to Stop Worrying About the Future
1. You can’t predict it.
From your career to your relationship to the way your kids will turn out to how ‘things will play out’ in your business—it is getting harder to figure things out accurately. Things are so much more unpredictable today because of the complexity of our society. And it bugs us. It eats us up slowly from the inside and causes this vicious spiral of worrying and anxiety.
So STOP TRYING TO PREDICT THE FUTURE! Stop wasting your time thinking about what CAN happen and start spending your time MAKING SOMETHING HAPPEN TODAY!
We may have made advances in medicine, technology and comfort, but we still cannot predict the future. Accept it and move on. Stop trying to predict what’s going to happen next. In your job. In your career. In your relationship. In your business. Just stop trying to think everything over and stop trying to predict how things will turn out. Because you’re likely going to be wrong and guess what? You’ll worry even more!
2. You can’t control it.
Stop worrying about the future because you cannot control the future.
Luck, randomness and chance contribute so much to the unpredictable nature of life that it is just unrealistic to think you can control things. You can’t. I have a hard time controlling my kids and it would be foolish to think I can control my career or anything else.
Break the root of worry by realizing that you cannot control or dictate things to just be. It’s just not possible to have total control of your life when you are so intertwined with so much of the world. Instead, deal with the uncertainty of an unknown future by focusing your energy on only the things you CAN control, which are: Your Thoughts and Your ACTIONS!
3. You’re missing the best time of your life.
Stop worrying about the future because you’re missing the best time of your life in the here and now.
There is so much you miss in life when your head is in the clouds worrying about an uncertain future. “My kids grew up in a blink of an eye”, is what so many people say these days. Imagine, you’re here on this rock for a short time and you’re missing the best part because you’re caught up with trying to figure out the future.
Forget the future! Focus on today! Be in the present moment. Force yourself to focus on what’s really important in your life – your family, friends, health and the rest. Being in the here and now is the only truth.
4. Sometimes the worst is not as bad as you think.
Stop worrying about the future because sometimes the worst is not as bad as you think.
Our minds play this weird game of attaching strings of thought with one another. One thought leads to another and then to somewhere else and then to another place entirely. And the next thing you know, your neck is in pain and you’re dealing with anxiety that came out of nowhere. We get anxious and nervous about the silliest little things…only they seem little AFTERWARDS. Sometimes we blow things out of proportion and exaggerate the bad that only our own mind thinks is going to happen. As I went through my own uncertain up and down journey and observed good friends and family with their chaos of trying to deal with uncertainty, I realized that when you look back at the chaos of life that you’ve gone through – that it wasn’t all that bad. Sometimes, you don’t even remember it! Rough yes, but the scenarios you thought it was going to be…probably not! You got through it. You survived. They say, “things work out in the end” because there is some truth to it. Worrying about the future will not help you deal with it.
8 Tried and True Worry Busting Techniques
1. Practice Mindfulness
Since worrying about the future pulls us into the future, nothing busts worry faster than some good old fashion present moment mindfulness.
Take a look around and notice what is surrounding you. What do you see? What do you feel? What do you taste? What do you hear? What do you smell?
Taking note of your surroundings by using your senses is an awesome way to pull yourself into the present moment where future-related worry cannot bother you.
2. Do Deep Breathing
Have you ever noticed your breathing when you are worrying? If not, the next time you are worried about a future-related event check in with your breathing.
Worrying causes our breathing to become shallow. And deep breathing can help us to relax, decrease our anxiety levels and get us out of worry mode.
3. Express Extra Gratitude
As you are probably already aware, worry creates negative thoughts and feelings. Gratitude does the exact opposite.
Since your brain cannot think positive and negative thoughts at the same time, gratitude is an awesome worry buster. Not to mention, it’s something you can do anywhere, any time, especially when you are short on time.
4. Lean Into “What Ifs”
It is all too common to want to shove worry aside or try and stuff it. Especially when you have a tight project deadline or a calendar full of obligations. Doing so, however, is just an invitation for the worry to stick around even longer.
Rather than try to ignore the worry, lean into by asking yourself the following question, “What if what I’m worrying about were to actually happen?”
Once you have your answer then ask yourself this follow-up question, “Then what would happen?” Keep asking the follow-up question until you have run out of “then what’s”.
5. Take Back Control
What do you have control over? What can you fix? What can you do to prevent whatever you are worrying about from happening?
For many of us, worry creates a feeling of being out of control and not safe. Doing things that are within our control helps us to regain those feelings of control and safety.
6. Tighten and Release
When you are worried, do you often feel a tightness in your stomach or your neck? Use that tightness to help you relax.
It sounds funny, but go ahead and tighten every muscle in your body.
Tighten your legs, suck in your stomach, clench your bottom, tighten your arms, and make fists. Hold your muscles in that tight position for just a moment, and then release all your muscles.
This technique is called Progressive Muscle Relaxation. It combats worry and even stresses by creating awareness around what the body feels like when it is in a relaxed state. And when you are in a relaxed state you are not in a state of worry.
7. Use Worry as a Gauge
Worry serves as a great gauge to let us know what is important and what is not. When you are worried about something, tune-in to the gauge.
How important is what you are worrying about on a scale of 1-10? If you gave it a 5 or less, ask yourself this question,” Since this thing I’m worried about isn’t super important, what is really driving the worry?”
If you gave it a 5 or higher, then it’s time to turn worried into a motivator to start taking action. To help, go back to #5 the Take-Back Control technique and ask yourself those questions.
8. Write or Talk It Out
Getting worried out of your head diminishes it. It is like the old analogy that if you shine a light on bacteria it dies. But if you keep it in the dark, it grows.
If you do not feel comfortable talking your worry thoughts and emotions out with a friend, family member, coach, or another trusted professional, try writing about it. Get it all out on paper and then throw the paper away.
Writing about your future-related worry takes the charge out of it and creates more clarity and awareness.