JANUARY 17, 2021
“Worrying is using your imagination to create something you don’t want.”—Abraham Hicks
Is it rational to worry about failing a test you haven’t even taken? It isn’t. But that’s what most of us do. Just replace “Exam” with “Life”, and it will start to make sense.
Many of us don’t realize this, but we have rationalized the state of continually worrying about the future and imagining various scenarios that only exist inside our heads. From questions like, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” to “How do you plan to spend your retirement years?”, we constantly imagine something or the other about our future. And according to the social norms that dictate us, if we don’t know the answers to these imaginative situations, we’re in trouble!
Do we understand the state of worrying about the future?
Worrying and spending conscious thought on imaginary scenarios has become very common, making its real meaning fade away.
According to dictionary.cambridge.org, the definition of worrying is: “making you feel unhappy and frightened”. Worry results from imagining something that may or may not happen in the future.
Unfortunately, we have misunderstood the notion of worrying by smudging the thin line that divides planning for the future and freaking out about it.
Planning for the future means setting out clear goals and understanding the steps that you need to take to reach that. On the other hand, worrying about the future means imagining scenarios that may take place in the future. There is a significant difference between the two.
Let’s say that your colleague asks you about your retirement plan, and you say that you haven’t really about it, but you feel like you should have one. So, there are two things that you can do. One is to start imagining what happens when all your money is gone and you’re all alone cringing about how you mismanaged your finances without retirement planning. The other is to consult a financial planner and understand how to save and invest money for retirement. You are responding to the same question in two ways – one is by worrying, and the other is by planning rationally.
How to stop worrying about the future?
Now that we have understood what worrying truly means, the biggest question that remains is, “How to stop worrying about the future?”
But before that, you need to understand why you must stop worrying about the future. Worry is a negative, irrational and an often unnecessary emotion, and when it comes by, it brings negative energy to you. Negative energy gives rise to fear, self-doubt, anxiety, and insecurity. When you associate these emotions with your future, it becomes dreadful, unwelcome, and horrifying because of all the negativity surrounding it. And thanks to our vivid imagination, these emotions only become more real with those incredibly detailed scenarios!
And you go down the spiral of negative thinking – the only place where you would least likely want to be because it hinders your growth, pulls you entirely out of the present, and destroys all the flow and productivity you have! It is important to note that thinking about the possibilities of events isn’t wrong or unnecessary. It can often be a crucial factor you must take into account for making the right decisions. But, when you allow these thoughts to dictate your day, there’s a problem.
You need to know how to stop worrying about the future to get rid of negative thinking spirals and make the best use of every moment you have in your life. For that, there are three things that you need to do:
- Understand the situation
- Remember you are in control of your life
- Take action
Understand the situation.
Very few people like to admit this, but the fact is that many of us come straight to deriving conclusions without even understanding the situation to the fullest. So the first thing you need to do is spend some time understanding the problem and why it is causing you to worry.
Sit down. Calm yourself. Take a deep breath. And ask yourself, “Why am I worrying about this situation?” Let the answer come to you, and simply observe the thoughts that are going on inside your mind. You will get an answer very soon. When you find that answer, you need to ask “WHY” again to uncover the real reason behind this panicky situation. And then think of how you can remedy that situation by adopting a third-person perspective.
For example, if I am worried about getting low marks on my test, I will ask myself, “Why am I worried about getting low marks?” The answer may be, “I am not prepared for the test.” Then I will ask, “Why am I not prepared for the test?”, to which I can answer – “I did not get enough time to prepare because I was sick.” Now, I have uncovered the real reason behind feeling worried, which is not studying properly for the test.
The next thing that I need to do is adopt a third-person perspective to remedy this situation. This, too, will come out by questioning. So I will ask, “If one of my friends was in this situation, what advice would I give?” The answer to that can be, “I will say that you should utilize the remaining time to the fullest and study as efficiently as possible.”
That’s it. You have found the solution!
Remember, you are in control of your life.
Even after understanding how you can remedy your situation by planning to make it better instead of just imagining scenarios, self-doubt can creep up. You can still feel that you will go downhill and that your future is not promising. But you need to remember one thing:
The actions you take right now determine who you will be in the future.
So, if you plan right now and live in the present instead of imagining scenarios, you will be able to control your future and make it a blissful one!
When you realize this fact, you will define your future with more certainty and self-belief, helping you in the next step.
Inaction and lack of progress allow the seeds of self-doubt and worry to grow because your mind cannot see you make any progress. Therefore, taking the right action is exceptionally crucial. It gives you certainty about your future, and by remembering that you are in control, you will stop worrying about the future.
You don’t need to take any random action; you need to implement the planning you did in the first step to remedy the thing you are worried about.
Everything that we do very often becomes a habit, and so does worrying. At first, it can be challenging to come out of negative scenarios and make rational decisions, but if you do one right thing after another, you will build the habit of doing the right things, and this habit will set your life right!
I hope that this blog post was helpful! Drop your comments below and share what you learned and any questions you may have. I will surely respond!
Also, do check out my latest best-selling book, ‘Explore The New YOU’, to find out how you can live your best life by building great habits, developing self-belief, setting the right goals, and finding your passion! Buy now by clicking here!
Partnering in your success and growth,