How to Stop Worrying...
Well worrying is something we all need to do so we know we’re alive… Some handle it better than others and as I get older I’m more aware of my own worry state and how I actually have some control over it.
You get an email that just kicks you in the stomach. You didn’t see it coming and weren’t prepared and whoosh. It knocks you flat. My personality means that I will stay flat and despondent until I’ve ‘dealt’ with said email either literally responded to it or dealt with it mentally so I’m in control and know the exact steps to take to deal with it. Until I reach this ‘in control’ place, I’ll be in a funk. This is my 'Flat Fred' character that lives in my head and I know him well. How to deal with this?
I’m not one to compartmentalise issues and not bring them home. I need to talk about them. To anyone that will listen, even if I tell a few people a few bits. I figure it’s better to get it out than keep it in and I get some feedback that is sometimes helpful. Usually by getting it out, I at least realise whether all my worry is warranted or if I’m over-exaggerating in my reaction. I often take everything personally and wish I didn’t, but hey I'm human.
As an example, who hasn’t mistakenly replied to an email to a client – BUT thought they were forwarding it to a co-worker. I’ve done this once that I recall years ago when I worked in mag land suggesting to the co-worker (who was actually the client) that we better listen to the client as they sounded cranky and might have a dummy spit. Yes, this was unprofessional and I was horrified. I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way. NO MATTER WHAT, don’t put anything in writing anywhere if it's something you wouldn't say to the person's face. Easy rule. So far, I haven’t repeated this and don’t plan on it!
How do I shake this worrying state as an exercise? I first choose whether this is something I need to ‘deal’ with or let go as time heals ALL… really. Sometimes you can’t do a thing which is frustrating and adds to the worry, but is pointless. The first question I ask myself is 1. Can I do anything? More often than not, I can’t so the decision has been made for me. Sometimes the question is 2. Can I do anything right now? If it’s 3am the likelihood of being able to act is small so I let it go until there is a time you can do something (if that time comes). Often after time, you change your perspective and deal with it differently which isn’t always a bad thing.
As I get older – and more impatient – I’ve learnt more and more that sleeping on something or just waiting to ‘see’ what transpires is the right step 99% of the time. Letting it 'marinate'. Something might happen in the meantime that changes things and what’s happened may turn out to be for the best – even if it appeared to be the worst thing possible at the time. This is only obvious in hindsight and with age comes wisdom. This is what I would tell my younger self.
Marie Forleo (a dynamic life and business coach of sorts who shares her gems of wisdom on her online tv show) has a brilliant way of helping deal with anxiety and looking inside using her flashlight method. It’s so worth the 6+ minutes to learn a new technique that would assist greatly in helping you channel that inner voice to build confidence and cope. It’s simple and super effective so be sure to share this with anyone you know that could benefit!!
Another favourite book I've gifted to over 20 friends is Dale Carnegie's How to Stop Worrying and Start Living. I would recommend the audio version where you listen to 10 minutes and it helps you relax right away. Practical advice that I use all the time.
Time heals all – the sun always rises no matter what so this will always give you something to smile about.