Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

How We Are Confusing Self-Love with Narcissism In This Generation How Traveling Can Drastically Improve Your Interpersonal Skills 10 Best Lumbar Support Cushions That All Desk Workers Need See How Your Brain Can Ruin Any of Your Workout or Healthy Eating Plans. One Small Action Separates Success From Mediocrity.

Trending in Psychology

1 Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering 2 How to Increase Your Self Awareness to Be Much More Successful 3 How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind 4 How to Handle Rejection and Overcome the Fear of Being Rejected 5 8 Powerful Reasons to Love Your Enemies

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on February 19, 2019

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

Why a Life Without Pain Is the Guarantee to True Suffering

No one wants to suffer. As a general rule, people like to avoid hurt and pain as much as possible. As a species, humans want a painless existence so much that scientists make a living trying to create it.

People can now choose “pain-free” labor for babies, and remedies to cure back pain, headaches, body-pains and even mental pains are a dime a dozen. Beyond medicine, we also work hard to experience little pain even when it comes to loss; often times we believe a breakup won’t hurt as much if we are the ones to call it off.

But would a world without pain truly be painless? It’s unlikely. In fact, it would probably be painful exactly for that reason.

If people never experienced hurt, they wouldn’t know what it was. On the surface level, that seems like a blessing, but think for a moment: if we didn’t know pain, how would we know peace? If you don’t know you’ve hurt or been hurt, how would you know that you need to heal? Imagine someone only knowing they have an incurable cancer at the final stage because no obvious symptoms have appeared at early stages.

Without the feeling of pain, people won’t be aware of dangerous situations—what should or shouldn’t do for survival.

Advertising

Pain Is Our Guardian

Pain serves to protect human beings from harmful actions. It’s the same reason parents teach babies that fire equals hot, and that hot equals hurt. Should the baby still place its hand in a fire or on a stove, the intense pain remains so memorable, that the child is certain never to repeat that action.

In the same way, pain within human bodies can serve as a warning that something is not right. Because you know what it is to feel “well,” you know what it is to feel poorly.[1]

Along with serving as a teacher of what not to do, pain also teaches you what you are made of in terms of what you can handle as an individual.

While the cliche, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is a tired term, it’s used excessively for a reason: it’s true. Pain helps you learn to cope with life’s inevitable difficulties and sadnesses— to develop the grit it takes to push past hardships and carry on.

Whether it’s a shattering pain, like the loss of a loved one or a debilitating accident, pain affects everyone differently. But it still affects everyone. Take a breakup as an example, anyone who has experienced it knows it can hurt to the point of feeling physical. Especially the first breakup. At a young age, it feels like the loss of the only love you’ll ever know. As you grow and learn, you realize you’re more resilient with every ended relationship.

Advertising

No Pain, No Happiness

You only know happiness when you have known pain. While the idea of constant happiness sounds nice, there is little chance it would be. Without the comparison to happiness, there’s no reason to be grateful for it. That is to say, without ever knowing sadness or pain, you would have no reason to be grateful for happiness.

In reality, there is always something missing, or something unpleasant, but it is only through those realizations that you know to be grateful when you feel you have it all. Read more about why happiness and pain have to exist together: Chasing Happiness Won’t Make You Happy

In a somewhat counter-intuitive finding, researchers found one of the things that brings about the most happiness is challenge. When people are tested, they experience a greater sense of accomplishment and happiness when they are successful. It is largely for this reason that low-income individuals can often feel happier than those who have a sense of wealth.[2]

This is a great thing to remember the next time you feel you would be happier if you just had a little more cash.

Avoiding Pain Leads to More Suffering

Pain is inevitable, embrace it positively. Anyone who strives to have a painless life is striving for perfectionism; and perfectionism guarantees sadness because nothing will ever be perfect.

Advertising

This isn’t a bleak outlook, but rather a truthful one. The messy moments in life tend to create the best memories and gratitude. Pain often serves as a reminder of lessons learned, much like physical scars on the body.

Pain will always be painful, but it’s the hurt feelings that help wiser decisions be made.

Allow Room for the Inevitable

Learning how to tolerate pain, especially the emotional kind, is a valuable lesson.

Accepting and feeling pain makes you human. There is no weakness in that. Weakness only comes when you try to blame your own pain on someone else, expecting the blame to alleviate your hurting. There’s a saying,

“Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting your enemy to die.”

Think back to the last time you were really angry with someone. Maybe you were hurt because you got laid off from a job. You felt angry and that anger caused so much pain that you could feel it in a physical way. Being angry and blaming your ex boss for that pain didn’t affect him or her in any way; you’re the only one who lost sleep over it.

The healthier thing to do in a situation like that is acknowledge your pain and the anger along with it. Accept it and explore it in an introspective way. How can you learn and grow? What is at the root of that pain? Are you truly hurting and angry about being laid off, or is the pain more a correlation to you feeling like you failed?

While uncomfortable, exploring your pain is a way to raise your self-awareness. By understanding more about yourself, you know how to deal with similar situations in the future. You can never expect to be numb to difficult situations, but you will learn to better prepare financially for the loss of a job and be grateful for an income since you now know nothing is promised (no matter how much you work or how deserving you may feel).

Pain Hurts, but Numbness Would Be Worse

Pain does not feel good, but the bad feeling of it will help you learn and grow. It makes the sweet moments in life even sweeter and the gratitude more sincere.

To have a happier and more successful life, you don’t learn from success or accomplishment, but through pain and failures. For it is in those moments that you learn how to do better in the future or at least cope a little more easily.

Advertising

You are the strong person you are today because of the hardships this life has presented to you. While you may have felt out of control when those hard times came, the one thing you will always have control over is how you choose to react to things. The next time you hurt or you’re angry or sad, acknowledge it and allow yourself to ruminate in it. Then take a deep breath and start learning from that pain. You’ve got this!

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

[1] University of Calgary: Why is Pain Important?
[2] Greater Good Magazine: The Importance of Pain

Read Next