It’s when you don’t trust that things are going to be OK that your mind goes in to over-drive, rehearsing various scenarios (very few of them favorable), and trying to figure out what to do next. That kicks off a downward spiral of shallow breathing that triggers your stress response, and nothing has changed except the thoughts in your head.
The four things below are alternatives to that all-too-familiar route of doubt, worry, and anxiety. I can’t promise these four things will exempt you from all worry, forever and ever, but using them in your moments of need will absolutely help you give yourself a different experience, and that’s how changes get made.
Look back on things that you fretted about in the past. How did they work out? You can apply the principles of hindsight to the future—it feels weird, kind of like writing with your non-dominant hand, but it’s the same skillset. And you will get better at it with practice.
Ask, “How might this be working out better than I am imagining?” As I mentioned, the mind tends to only think about how things could go wrong. Counter that with time spent pondering how things could go right. What we focus on grows.
Relax, nothing is under your control. Honestly, while your intentions and your actions have incredible power to create things that you want, the results you get are only partially the direct result of your personal efforts—the rest happens as a result of timing, circumstance, and help from others—including from Life itself. Take care of your side of the equation, and let Life do the rest. Oftentimes the biggest progress comes when you’re not trying so hard, because you open yourself up to insight and grace.
Let go of timing. This is related to the previous bullet, but is slightly different. It’s so easy to take things happening more slowly than you’d like as some sort of bad omen when really it’s just impatience. I know this is hard. I’ve got a pretty heft helping of impatience myself, but the fact is, timing just isn’t our business, because we don’t have control over it. When you notice that you’re getting frustrated with how fast or slow things are happening, go do something that is in your control—that’s the best way to get the energy moving.
Got another strategy that you use? I’d love to hear about it! Leave a comment below.