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How to Worry Less: 90% of What You Fear Won’t Happen

How to Worry Less: 90% of What You Fear Won’t Happen

What if? What if it doesn’t work out? What if I’m wasting my time? Everyone will know I failed, and then everyone will hate me. Do any of these debilitating questions sound familiar to you? You’re not alone. Anxiety disorders [1] are on the rise, and unfortunately it’s our own fault. The way that we process information and expectations has taken a negative toll on our mentalities, filling up our heads with disastrous scenarios that will never play out.

Worrying is normal, but not if it’s keeping you up at night.

If nothing phased you at all, then that would be a totally different issue. But many of us torture ourselves with thoughts and scenarios that just aren’t in touch with reality.

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Example: You just started a new job as a waitress. You don’t fully know the menu, so you rang in some orders incorrectly. To make things worse, you broke a few plates, and now all of your coworkers are annoyed. After you go home that night, you consider never returning to avoid humiliation. But you need the job, so you go in anyway, bracing yourself for ridicule. Much to your surprise, everyone is pleasant and carrying on as if yesterday’s disasters never happened. No one is mad at you, and they certainly don’t hate you. Now that you know the protocol better, you’re less likely to make those mistakes again. So it’s all good.

My motto: prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. Notice how I didn’t say EXPECT the worst, because then you’re already setting a foundation for negativity. Overly enthusiastic optimism can be unrealistic and annoying, but you need to keep an open mind. Don’t worry about something unless it’s actually happening. Don’t concern yourself with what might be, because it hasn’t happened.

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You’re sabotaging yourself by worrying too much.

If you let your fears get the best of you, then it’s going to hold you back. You may pass up opportunities or act irrationally because of what could happen, or you have the wrong idea. Either way, you’re setting yourself up for failure.

Let’s look at this from a romantic perspective. You may lose out on a great relationship because you’re too afraid of getting burned again. Or let’s say you’re already in the relationship, and you become paranoid because you jump to the worst case scenario if they don’t answer their phone for 5 minutes.

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People tend to expect disaster because they ignore the probability.

Here are a list of things that probably won’t happen even though you’re scared to death that it will:

Plane crash: Car crashes are way more common

I’ll be honest, when I let the reality sink in that I’m hovering thousands of miles above ground, it is a bit unsettling. I feel so exposed, vulnerable. My sister actually helped to console me on this by pointing out that anytime there is a plane crash, it makes national news. Why? Because it’s so uncommon. There are thousands of people who work to route the airways to ensure that there aren’t any collisions. How many car crashes make the paper? Unless there was a celebrity inside one of the vehicles, not many. That’s because they’re so common. So next time you get freaked out about flying just keep in mind that plane crashes are incredibly rare.

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Judgment: The truth is, no one really cares that much

This is a big one. We think that everyone is watching and taking note of our every move. The truth is, no one really cares that much. Not to be harsh, but the fact that you said something offbeat in a conversation three weeks ago is probably never going to come up again. In fact, at the time it may have been humiliating for you. But the people you were speaking to probably snickered, shrugged it off, and forgot about it entirely. So stop worrying. You are your own worst critic, and you’re only shining a spotlight on your own flaws.

Abandonment: By avoiding being abandoned, you probably push people away

Unfortunately this one is a bit deep-seeded and difficult to kick. Generally, if you’ve been abandoned or let down by someone you look up to and respect, it’s going to cause a huge blow to your ego and expectations of others. But you need to realize that not everyone is out to hurt you, and  . In both cases, you’re going to end up alone. So give people a chance to show you that they want to be in your lives. If they don’t, just let them go.

Reference

More by this author

Jenn Beach

Traveling vagabond, freelance writer, & plantbased food enthusiast.

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Last Updated on April 1, 2019

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

When we talk about happiness, we often think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity. Many try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as their ultimate goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from them.

But, what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?

It’s a lot like your favorite food. The more often you have it isn’t always better. On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite. So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

Always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

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Video Summary

Don’t Assume Others Are Always Happy

Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time. Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales. On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives. So, it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

No one has a perfect life. Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires have their own set of challenges and problems.

When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve. As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time. During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals. But, I got through them; and, weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.  Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time now seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

Stop Trying to Be Happy–Just Be

It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.

So what can we do?

First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness. Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect. It’s through experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing similar trials. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.

It sounds like a paradox. But, what I mean is to accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life. Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

Understand the importance of gratitude. Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment, flash back your memory to when you didn’t have something. I like to think about my career, for example. When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated. I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me. But, when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful! This memory keeps me going when I hit tough spots. It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

Happiness and Sadness Exist Together

What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments–happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories. But, your life will also be filled with rain and storms that never seem like they will pass while you’re going through them.

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But, whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.

Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones. Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”. In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements. Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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