How to Let Go of Worry

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Women and Worry

I grew up in a family of women, I am the middle child, I was literally surrounded by women.  If there is one thing I know as a woman surrounded by women, it’s that we struggle with anxiety and worry. My Dad is super laid back, so my mom felt that she had to worry enough for the both of them, but did she? What does worrying about something do to benefit the situation? Worrying causes stress, anxiety, and impedes your ability to enjoy the moment. Worry is something that we tend to hold onto, like a balloon we don’t want to release from our grasp, but I am here to tell you to let it go. 

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Worry is something you overcome. Not something that goes away.

I believe that anxiety isn’t something that just goes away, it’s something that you have to learn to control or it ends up controlling you.  I had anxiety fairly early on in my life and actively pursued ways to let go of worry. I read books, went to counselors, and dealt with it head on. It’s something I am really glad that I learned to deal with. Not only because I am now more laidback and happy, but because I learned so much from the process.

Below are some things I’ve learned along the way.

There is no point in worrying about anything beyond your control:

This isn’t easy to do but the more you practice the easier it gets. Only let yourself worry about what is within your control.  I once went to a counselor who illustrated worry for me by drawing a large circle. Within that circle she drew a dot. The circle represented everything I was worried about and the dot represented things that I had control over. I tend to worry about other people and how they are feeling. I felt responsible for others’ happiness (and still do to a certain extent). I am a visual learner, so it was eye opening to actually see what I was worrying about illustrated as wasted energy. 

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If it’s something you can control, then do it. If you did something that you are worrying about and it’s something that you can change, then change it. If you said something to a friend and you are worried that you hurt their feelings then talk to them. Go to the source and figure out the issue instead of dwelling about what may or may not be.

If you find yourself worrying about something that isn’t in your control, you need to STOP.  I am serious just STOP IT. Push those thoughts out of your mind allowing space to think about more positive things. Change your focus. Be stubborn. When those thoughts come to your mind, don’t allow yourself to go there. This weekend I had a sore throat, and I thought, oh my gosh I haven’t been sick in so long, what if I am sick for my wedding day! What good is that going to do? I had to think, nope not even going to consider that. Moving on. Sometimes we don't want to talk to someone about something because we don't want to hear that we are wrong, or we don't want to be told otherwise,if you are worrying about something and you have a friend that will challenge you, call them. Let them help you push those ideas out of your head and think of it from a new perspective. If that doesn't work allow yourself to write it down. Once I write something down it doesn't seem as logical as I thought it was. 

Don't let yourself dwell on it. The thought will arise again and again, it'll get easier every time you ignore it.  When I was growing up I would make myself sick over-thinking what others thought about me. All I can do is be my best self. I can’t control other people’s narratives so there is no sense in wasting my energy worrying about it.

85% of What we Worry about NEVER Happens

What if it rains? What if they don’t like me? What if the event isn’t a success? What if I fail? What if, what if, what if. 85% of what we worry about never happens. It’s wasted energy.

All you can do is be prepared within reason,(if it’s going to rain, grab a rain jacket) but then you have to let it go. A million things could potentially, someday, maybe possibly happen, but the chances are they won’t.  All that time you spend considering what could go wrong takes away from enjoying the moment you are in. Hell, if it rains and you forgot a jacket what’s the worst that could happen? You get wet, change your perspective, and dance in the rain!

Just let life happen.

Instead of considering everything that could possibly go wrong and trying to control what happens, consider what it would be like if you just let life happen. What is the worst that could happen? You may just find that life happens and it’s not something you can control. Give yourself some credit. You are capable of handling obstacles as they arise rather than trying to anticipate everything that may happen.

That time you are spending worrying about what could happen and trying to ensure that everything is going to go ‘according to plan’ stops you from seeing the beautiful things that are happening that you never could have anticipated. Let go of that balloon and experience how liberating it can feel.

 

ADVICEKasey Taube