Don’t worry about what you cannot control:
I’m pretty sure that everyone reading this remembers where they were and what they were doing when 911 happened. I had just walked into a conference room at work to attend an all-day “Stress Management” class with about 20 other colleagues. The guy sitting next to me asked if I had heard what happened…
Stress Management. What an appropriate topic for the day! Turns out that the guy teaching the class was retired military and had worked at the Pentagon for 20+ years, so he was particularly distracted by the entire event. We didn’t have smart phones then, nor even television in the room so we had to go to our cars to listen to the radio at breaks to keep up with what was happening.
He did an amazing job with the class, but the one take-away I’ve never forgotten was “Don’t worry about things you have no control over”. That is so true! Hard to accomplish, but true.
What is worry, anyway? It’s such an important word that it’s used as a verb and a noun. As a verb it means “to give way to anxiety or unease; allow one’s mind to dwell on difficulty or troubles.” As a noun, the definition is “A state of anxiety and uncertainty over actual or potential problems.” Worry is simply allowing the mind to have its own way concerning a particular event or train of thoughts.
You’ve probably heard the saying, “If you’re depressed you’re living in the past, and if you’re stressed you’re living in the future.” Think about that saying, and you’ll realize how true it is. We have no control over the past because it’s already happened. We can definitely learn from it, but don’t relive it or dwell on it. We can shape our future, but the future can’t happen until it’s in the present moment, so why not just live in the present moment and enjoy life as it comes? When you think about it, if we’re “in the moment” then it is impossible for us to worry, period.
The most effective way to step away from worry is to be in the present moment. To get into the moment, sit quiet, breath slowly, and watch your breath. Your body is always in the present moment, so just focusing on your body or a part of your body will keep your mind from wandering everywhere. Every time your mind starts to go to a worrisome thought, bring your focus back to the breath or your body. It’s a continuous battle, but being mindful and living in the present moment is without a doubt the ultimate weapon to combat worry.