As our two-year old flopped around like a fish in our bed last night, I couldn’t help but think, wow, the way he sleeps is the way my brain works.
It never stops. It’s always moving back and forth between feeling sane and totally insane and I never really feel truly comfortable. Just as he lay still for maybe a few moments, my brain is the same. It’s only when I get lost for a while, like during an amazing film or book or when I spend a day in nature or with my family and friends, that I forget to think or worry.
In 2019, I just want to stop worrying. I even worry about worrying. I worry about everything. I know you can relate.
Guys, my oldest went to a kid’s birthday bowling party the other day and all I could think leading up to it was who was going to be there and was he going to like his shoes or slide and fall down or stink at it and get made fun of. I worried if he’d close his mouth chewing his pizza or say thank you enough. And I WAS THERE. Imagine my terror if I wasn’t. And *spoiler alert*: NONE of this happened. His shoes were fine, he bowled well, he had fun, he said thank you and it was a great day.
Why didn’t I just trust and believe it would be a good day?
Why did I go into automatic worry mode?
It’s frustrating AF.
And it’s not just my oldest, I worry about my youngest, I worry about my husband, my family, my friends, my clients, myself, the world. The only good thing about my worrying is I am really open to talking about it lately and I’m realizing we are all doing the same thing. We can all be in a room at a party “having a good time” but we all have something in the back of our minds bothering us slightly.
I sat at the kid’s birthday party with a really close friend (also a mom) and we laughed at all the things we worry about in a day. It’s refreshing when you just say it out loud.
When I worry, I tend to spiral.
It’s called Catastrophic Thinking and I didn’t even know this was a thing until I found myself googling about it. Basically, you worry about one small thing and turn it into seventeen things after.
For instance, I could worry that I make a mistake with a client and they lose business because of me and then they lose all their money and then they lose their house and then they file bankruptcy and then they hate me forever and then they sue me and then I lose everything, etc., etc. You get yourself so far from the original worry, you can’t even get back to it. And even though it’s super irrational, you find a way to believe it could happen.
You get that terrible feeling in the pit of your stomach. You want to vomit, cry, run. And then maybe another day, that exact same thought doesn’t bother you at all.
There is a great quote from Michel de Montaigne (over 500 years ago) and he said: “My life has been filled with terrible misfortune; most of which never happened.”
There was a study done that found that a whopping 85% of the stuff we worry about, NEVER HAPPENS. And when things did happen to people, 79% of them said they handled it better than they expected.
So why do we do it?
And why can’t we be more present in the moment?
IF something happens, we can deal with it at that time. Trying to figure out what MIGHT happen is not productive. Our imaginations run wild. It’s a good thing when we are trying to be creative, but not so good when we are worrying.
Another great quote is, “Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.” – Glenn Turner
Another super true statement.
I think many of us worry about things we did in the past, too. Things we said or didn’t say. Mistakes we made. People we hurt. Situations we handled wrong. Faux pas we committed. If we didn’t make amends or do what we could do then, there is nothing we can do now.
WE ARE HUMAN. We are not perfect. We all grow and change. The person I was as little as five years ago, is not the person I am today. And you probably feel the same. Experiences teach us and hopefully the people that love us can forgive us and support us. We can’t keep punishing ourselves and letting it affect the rest of our lives.
And I’m not talking about people who have committed major offenses. I’m talking about the time you said something inappropriate and embarrassed your spouse or the time you got really drunk and threw up in your best friend’s car or the time you were snarky at the woman at the cash register at Target because you were having a bad day. Or the time you royally messed up at work or the time you weren’t there for someone when they needed you and you lost a friendship. You pick the scenario. Again, it’s in the past. You can’t change it now, so don’t dwell on it. Learn from it and be better, do better. If you can do something about it, like reach back out to that friend you lost, do it and just be honest.
If we let the past creep into our minds and determine our potential future, we completely lose the present.
Worrying isn’t worth it. Stress is a killer, we know this. Our blood pressure rises and it’s tough on our hearts. We have to find a way to breathe and stop the cycle.
I don’t have any answers. I just know personally that talking things out REALLY helps. And you can talk to whomever you feel comfortable talking to. Maybe that person is a family member, a friend or an outside resource like a therapist.
The next time you start to spiral down that worry path, think about the facts. 85% of that stuff will never happen. That should bring you some solace. And all that stuff in the past, I bet it’s bothering you way more than it’s bothering someone else.
I also try to distract myself if I start to worry too much. I’ll start saying my prepositions in alphabetical order in my head (learned that at age 12, haven’t lost it yet). Or I’ll name every state and their capitals or my favorite – I’ll relive an entire day. A day that was amazing and beautiful. Like my wedding day.
I will try to remember each minute, from waking up, eating breakfast, getting ready, running in the rain to the hair salon, every little piece of it. And my brain goes to a very different place and the worry disappears.
How do you cope with worry?
Do you meditate?
Do you talk to someone?
I would love ANY and ALL feedback.
Cheers to a clear mind and a focus on the present in 2019!
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