When we worry, we’re either living in the past or in the future, and not fully experiencing the present moment.
We’ve all had experiences where we’ve worried about something, whether it was before an exam or a meeting, or after a certain event. Have you noticed it’s really hard to worry about the present moment?
Say for example, we’ve been worried about a particular meeting leading up to it, but once we’re in the meeting, we can only deal with what we’re experiencing in the present moment. While there may be a sense of nervousness in the moment, it’s very rarely worry.
Why Do We Worry?
Worry is a common emotion that does not serve us, most times. While we may know that on an intellectual level, we still worry. Some of the reasons include:
- Fear of the unknown.
- Self-esteem issues.
- Fear of what others think or of being judged.
- Putting focus on ourselves and how we feel.
- Using it as motivation to do something.
We experience the emotion of worry because certain things trigger certain thoughts, which then causes us to feel a certain way.
The Costs of Worrying
By becoming aware of what worrying is costing us, we can choose to think better-feeling thoughts so that we can experience the emotions we want to. When we worry, it:
- Consumes our mental and emotional energy.
- Uses up valuable time on unproductive thinking.
- Causes us to not enjoy the present moment.
- Affects our mood, which can affect our productivity or effectiveness.
- Causes us to be less optimistic about our lives or the future.
There are things we can do to better manage our emotions so that when we start to worry, we can quickly change how we’re feeling.
5 Things That Will Help You Worry Less and Start Living More Now
- Know what triggers your thoughts. As most things we do are habitual, there are things that cause us to think thoughts that lead to feelings of worry. It could due to speaking to certain people, or listening or watching certain things. The more awareness we have about our triggers, the better we’ll be able to manage them.
- Have a go-to technique to deal with worry in the moment. If we start worrying about something, techniques we could adopt include taking deep breaths, closing our eyes for a few minutes and just focusing on our breathing, practicing gratitude or appreciating something that’s going well in our lives. In the moment, we need to be able to quickly turn worry into something more useful.
- Change your self-talk. When we worry, chances are, our self-talk is negative, which will lead to other unhealthy emotions. We can change our self-talk by adding something positive to what we’re saying to ourselves. For example, we may say, “I’m worried about the expenses I have over coming up over the next few months, and I’m confident things will work out just fine, as they have always done.”
- Focus on what you can do today. When we identify what we want or where we would like to be, it gives us a focus. If we make that our priority and work towards it, we’ll train ourselves to be in action mode rather than give energy to things we can’t control.
- Talk to someone. As worrying is a habit that can cause us to feel alone, we have to be willing to get over our insecurities and speak to someone. Sometimes, saying out loud what we’re concerned about can reduce the level of intensity of our worries, which will also make it a lot easier to manage.
Next time we catch ourselves worrying about something we cannot control or change, it will be helpful to remind ourselves of what’s it’s actually costing us, then use certain techniques to change how we feel. When we do, we’ll use our mental resources more intelligently and get back to doing what we need to in order to achieve what we want.
Question: What is something else we can do to worry less and live more in the present moment?
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