I remember back when I first got married, I purchase a book about how to deal with anxiety. I remember worrying on a daily basis. I would leave work with such a tense back that I was literally in pain. There were times that my chest was so tight that I started to wonder what it might feel like to have a heart attack.
I worried about my work.
I worried about how I looked.
I worried about making my new bride happy.
I worried about what we were going to have for dinner.
I worried about finances.
I worried that my new desk job would be making me fat.
I worried about the extra freelance work that I had to complete.
I worried about cleaning and decorating our new apartment.
I worried if we would ever get out of this apartment and afford a house.
I worried about taking care of our new fish tank.
I worried about how I was going to pay for my new computer.
I worried about whether my wife would be safe working nights as a nurse.
I worried about my friends and family.
I worried about the future.
I worried about worrying. Hence the book I purchased on anxiety.
Fast forward about 10 years and I purchased another book. I was called How to stop worrying and start living. It was a revelation when I read the simple thoughts throughout the book that helped me to realize that ultimately, worrying doesn’t solve anything.
Worrying DOES NOT solve anything.
Once you really learn a few important ways to look at worry, you can learn to let go and lessen the worry in your life.
The first is that you can stop worrying and try to solve the problems you’re worried about.
The second is that you can submit, and realize that no matter what you do, you can’t control the outcome.
The first approach end up being very exciting if you think about it.
You can get better at your work so you succeed.
You can make sure to exercise, eat right and get more fit.
You can go out of your way to ensure that your lover is extremely happy.
You can make more money.
You can save more money.
You can put a reminder on your phone to feed the fish!
On the second approach, there are simply things that you can’t control in life. You have to submit to this fact and realize that worrying solves nothing. It’s wasted energy. It hurts your health. It’s your mind turning against you and creating stories that probably will never come true.
You might lose your job.
You might not get all your work done.
Someone could hurt your loved one.
You might have a heart attack from stress.
Your fish might die.
YOU might die.
Out of this exercise, you’ll learn one simple truth. This is the one big takeaway that I got from reading this book and I’ve carried it through my life since then. Remember this:
If you think through to the worst thing that could possibly happen, it’s rarely ever as bad as you worry that it could be.
Constant worry and stress is slowing killing you. Instead of worrying, try to fix things, realize that you can’t change things, or realize that if bad things happen, you’ll be ok.
Take a minute and think through some of the things that you worry about on a regular basis. Think through to the worst end result and ask yourself, is this worth worry about? Is this worth dying for?
If you lose your job, you will get another job.
If you don’t get all your work done, you won’t get paid. But you can always make money.
If you get fat, your wife will likely still love you and support your efforts to get fit again.
If you disappoint your lover, she’ll likely give you many more chances.
If you’re late to an appointment, they’ll likely understand.
If your fish dies, you can always get a new one.
The only thing that might be difficult to stop worrying would be worrying about death. The countdown to the day that it goes dark for you or someone else.
But once we realize that worrying will consistently reduce the time in that countdown, it will be easier to set your worries aside and just realize that our worries will likely result in things that really aren’t that bad. They’re things that we’ll recover from. We will eventually forget about them. They will become inconsequential.
So the next time that you find that you’re worrying about something, stop, think through the worst case scenario. Usually it’s not death. It’s something that you have control to fix. It’s something that really isn’t that bad. It’s something that you’ll eventually forget about as you continue to live life.
This simple truth is how you eventually learn to stop anxiety. You control your anger. You learn that worrying solves nothing except paving the way to unhappiness, stress, bad health, hatred and eventually death.
This is a sobering truth. So please, stop worrying and start living, today.