I don’t remember worrying about many things when I was younger. I was a happy-go-lucky kid who lived for summer and believed everything would turn out fine.
But life is full of ups and downs and somewhere along the way, we’re all dealt a few unexpected blows that remind us that life can be hard and things don’t always turn out the way we hope.
The Science Behind Worrying
Did you know that humans are the only animals that have the ability to imagine how the future will turn out?
Some psychologists refer to our brains as prediction machines.
The good news for us worriers is that although our brains are constantly trying to predict how things will turn out, studies have shown we're not very good at it.
A study by Penn State University found that a surprising 91% of the participant's worries did not come true.
This doesn’t mean that life will never get hard, it just means that most of the things you worry about will not become your reality.
Seneca was right when he said,
“We suffer more often in imagination than in reality.” -Seneca
A Recipe For Peace of Mind:
"Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand" - Thomas Carlyle
To spend each day focused on that day's work.
Plan for the future.
Pray about the future.
But don’t make up an untrue story about the future.
Just do the work at hand. The work that is right in front of you.
And tomorrow, do the same.
"It has been said that no man ever sank under the burden of the day. It's when tomorrow's burden is added to the burden of today that the weight is more than a man can bear." - George MacDonald
The First Step:
For me, the first step is self-awareness.
Simply becoming aware that my thoughts are getting away from me.
Awareness is half the battle.
The Second Step:
Step two is replacing the worried thought.
It’s like meditation, as soon as you realize that your thoughts have drifted, you pull them back to the center.
Trying to fight against the negative narrative in your head is a losing battle.
Instead, simply remember that your only job for today is to focus on today’s work.
Replace the narrative by actively shifting your thoughts back to the task in front of you, and keep moving.
"Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." - Matthew 6:34
Yesterday is gone, and tomorrow doesn’t exist.
Today is the day.
Today is always the day.
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