Stress is unavoidable in life. Worry is a choice.
Choosing to worry is like nesting an egg. I could choose to worry about pain in my belly – take up residence on my egg of worry and dedicate time to searching Dr. Google for a diagnosis to match symptoms.
But guess what? That energy put into incubating that “egg” of worry will only help it grow into something bigger in life. That “egg” will hatch and take on new life. My energy incubating it helped that happen.
There are many potential “eggs” of worry in life. Adolescents college-bound for the first time may have eggs of worry such as choosing a major, getting along with a roommate, keeping in touch with high school friends. Adults in the workforce have eggs of worry such as maintaining positive relationships with co-workers and/or bosses, completion of projects, saving for retirement. Parents carry eggs of worry such as the health, happiness, and achievement of their children.
The next time you feel you “have to worry” (and dedicating the majority of energy to something maybe not even immediately in reality), think instead:
Is there some action that needs to occur now that I have control over?
Spend time on that! spend energy on the other things in life that need your attention. Vacuum dog hair, groom your face, enjoy the sun, return a call to a friend, make a nutritious lunch.
And when that “thing I have to worry about” comes to mind in the present moment, treat it like any other task to accomplish. The next time my energy is low, instead of Googling symptoms, I can get myself to bed on time and consider my nutrition for the day. Instead of spending time ruminating about being undecided in my college major, I can complete the reading that was assigned for next class. The next time I catch myself dedicating time to anticipating all the potential criticism I might receive from the presentation at work, I can prepare the presentation instead. And rather than obsess about my child’s future, I can make time to connect with them in an activity today.
When we focus on tasks in the present, we save ourselves from stress. Spend less energy thinking, not more. Instead, be present. And remember, most things in life work out okay. In other words…Do. Be. Repeat.