Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘stop worrying’

No Worry, No Problem, No Drama

In the last two blogs we have dealt with how small changes can improve our lives. Specifically, in the first blog I discussed the difference in two types of motivation – restrictive (I have to …) or constructive (I choose to…) Basically, it is the difference in the mindset or approach we take when approaching a task. Either way the job has to get done but with restrictive motivation we feel put upon or upset as compared to constructive motivation which causes us to find something positive either about the task or at least the feeling of accomplishment we will receive when it is finished. Listen to yourself and others over the next few days and you may be surprised at how often restrictive motivation is used. No wonder so many people feel perpetually exhausted! Just visualize the difference in a smile or a frown. It literally takes more muscles (thus energy) to frown. When we use restrictive motivation we are, in essence, constantly frowning on the inside. Conversely, when we are practice constructive motivation we are smiling our way through it.

The next blog on the theme of small changes we can make for a happier tomorrow was on the topic of hope. Show me a person who exhibits hope and I will show you a person who is successful at life regardless of his station. When we practice hope long enough it becomes an habitual way of thinking. We train ourselves, in essence, to expect good things to happen in our lives and refuse to be sidetracked by a challenge along the way. We become more optimistic and inspired by even the little things in life because we are surrounding ourselves with positive energy. Hope truly does spring eternal and is a learned behavior.

The next small change we can initiate is training ourselves to deal with things we can change and not allow ourself to wallow in blame, fear or self pity for the things we cannot change. One sentence or thought repeated enough can make a huge difference. For instance, by thinking to ourselves ‘I simply won’t go there’ it helps us to redirect our attention to the things we can change rather than wasting our precious moments on this earth dealing with negative thinking. This one simple but powerful statement speaks volumes about what you value and what you choose to fill your mind with in life. Remember the statement – garbage in – garbage out? Negatives in the form of worry or drama are not elements of problem solving but are merely methods of either attention getting or unresolved fears. Neither approach fixes anything and, in fact, simply makes the issue bigger than necessary in our own minds. I have never seen anyone solve a problem by constantly worrying about it or repeatedly and dramatically talking about over and over. In fact, these ‘catastrophic thinkers’ can sap the life energy right out of us.

Each of us will have our own fair amount of problems to deal with in life. The longer you live the more you can see that life seems to be an equal opportunity employer. It is simply part of the human condition. Developing a Plan (sometimes even a Plan A, B and C) and working through the steps we need to follow (with mid course corrections along the way) is a constructive way to address an issue and keep it in perspective. Naturally we begin to feel more in control with any issue we are dealing with when we stop perseverating on it or on the ‘what ifs…’ and develop steps to address it.

These above ideas may simply seem like little more than common sense to many of us. However, there is a difference in knowing something and actually doing it – a big difference!

Listen to yourself over the next few days and see if you can put one or two of these ideas in motion. Just remember when dealing with any change in our lives, step by step is a cinch.

Have a great few days!

Fear of the Unknown

We like closure. It helps us feel more in control. However, if closure is not immediate what do we do? Frequently, we fill in the details about what this MIGHT mean. Our monkey brains work nonstop and our past experiences often fill in the unknown with fear, anxiety and negative thinking. Fear, in itself, can be a good thing. It has allowed us to evolve by signaling the need for a flight response. For instance, one could think of the letters in the word fear as standing for ‘f… everything and run’ when you feel physically threatened.

Another valid interpretation of the letters in fear could mean ‘false evidence appearing real’ when we don’t have enough information to understand the meaning behind a situation. In this circumstance your choice of interpretation is just that, your choice and your interpretation based on incomplete data. When you slow down and think more deeply about what you really don’t yet know about the circumstance you gain a sense of control and greater self confidence.

Ultimately, when additional information is supplied we usually think to ourselves, ‘Oh, that wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.’ It might even be a good thing eventually but at the initial moment we often have a tendency to put ourselves through a boat load of stress and worry. Why?

We act consistently with beliefs about ourselves which were formed from childhood and further developed through life experiences. The problem is that we often create our own filters during moments of stress and negative experiences then use these filters to interpret the future. This is especially true if someone in our lives has been in a position that, over time, created fear or anxiety in our lives. Maybe we had a parent or boss that used intimidation or fear as a method of control. If you have experienced this it really says a lot more about their insecurities than about your own capabilities. But as you are creating your own life filters you are rarely able to internalize this point.

The good news is that once we realize that our fears often develop from either lack of information or from the negative behavior directed from others we can do something about it! When we feel fear or anxiety about future events begin to take over our thinking we have the power to slow down our thinking, exhale slowly, and remember that 99% of what we fear or worry about never comes to pass. Future events can be interpreted with fear and anxiety OR a belief in your own personal power. If you reflect upon the many things in life that you have been able to manage, accomplish and overcome, it will help you gain a renewed sense of confidence. You really can handle whatever life has in store.

Visualize the phrase ‘jumping to conclusions.’ It’s a funny image. Would you normally arrive at a conclusion about something in your life without all the needed information? Would you buy something, designed something or conclude something about someone with few facts? Probably not. Yet this is exactly what we do to ourselves when we allow fear or anxiety from previous experiences to control our interpretation of future events.

Learning to control our response to stressful or difficult circumstances is not easy. It takes practice. We may fall back, occasionally, to the ‘what ifs’ in life. That’s okay. The amount of TIME we allow ourselves to REMAIN in that state seems to determine our happiness index in life overall. Something to think about!

Have a great few days!