You’ve attended the interview it seemed to go well, but you’re waiting with worry to hear back from them. You had an extra slice of cake with your afternoon tea and you’re worried if it was one too many for the waistline you’re watching.
Or maybe you’re about to go have a nice evening out with your friends and you’re worried whether it will rain. The common denominator in all these things is that you’re worrying about things you can’t change – so stop worrying!
You’ve already attended the interview so you’ve done what you can to get the job. You’ve already eaten the cake so there’s no point beating yourself up for it when it’s already in the tummy. And the weather is uncontrollable so worrying about isn’t going to change it.
How often do you worry about things you can’t change?
Probably a few times a day – if not more. This creates unnecessary additional stress for both your body and mind, and also prevents the joy and enjoyment you can experience today.
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
So it’s time you learned to stop worrying. Let’s start by looking at what research has said about worrying in general:
- About 85% of the things we worry about never happen.
- If what we worry about does happen, 80% of us said we handled the outcome better than we thought we would.
- People who let go of worries instead of stressing over them are much healthier than those who don’t.
So how do you let go of this worrying that sometimes drives you crazy – especially when you’re worrying about things you have no control over?
Try the six strategies below to stop worrying once and for all – there’ll be a time and a place for each of them.
Number One – Call a friend to talk about your worry.
Talking about your worry will help you get your head straight about whether your worry is realistic, worth worrying about, and something you can actually do anything about.
It will help you understand that there’s no point worrying about it if the outcome is out of your hands. Talking will offload some of the weight you carry around.
Number Two – Time with God.
Learning to take time each with God. Being aware of His presence through prayer and stillness will help you keep your mind focused on what you’re doing now rather than worrying about things you can’t change.
Even 10 minutes of sitting down just focusing on your breathing, has been shown to reduce everyday stress.
Number Three – Accept uncertainty & learn to thrive in it.
The beauty of life is in how unpredictable it is – you never quite know what’s around the corner! Learn to embrace this uncertainty and thrive in it. Who knows, it could even bring some exciting new opportunities you never even thought about. Put your heart and soul into the things you care about, and work hard on achieving your dreams. That’s all you can do. The rest is up to God.
Number Four – Distract yourself with another activity.
Really can’t seem to get it out of your head? Go do something completely unrelated and different that forces you to focus on something else. This is most effective if you choose an activity that you get fully immersed in, such as practicing your hobby or reading an exceptional book.
For example, I’m able to escape the world when I take my dog for a walk in the forest – just spending time with him takes my mind away from other things.
Number Five – Exercise!
Doing some kind of exercise you enjoy will give you a break from your worries whilst reducing the levels of your stress hormones, stimulating the production of feel-good brain chemicals, and improving your self-image.
If you’re struggling to get your mind to be quiet during exercise, put some music on in your headphones or push yourself even harder. When you challenge your body you will need to focus so you won’t be able to worry about anything else other than the exercise itself.
Number Six – Have a designated worry time and worry notebook.
If you really want to take control of those worries and you’re finding that the above strategies don’t work, allow yourself to worry for a certain time period every day.
Spend time writing about all your worries in that notebook, and accept that when the time is up, the worrying has to stop. That way you will get them out of your head and onto paper, which research has shown is very effective in clearing your mind.
If you’re at least able to stop worrying about things you can’t change, you will be able to reduce your stress levels and boost your positive emotions. For the things you can change, do something about them, fight your worry with action!
For the things you can’t change, have a play with these six strategies and see how you get on with letting go of your worries!
Enjoy your weekend.
Rev J Martin