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5 Ways to Instantly Rid Yourself of Needless Worry

5 Ways to Instantly Rid Yourself of Needless Worry

A while back, I had a great day and everything was going exactly as I wanted. I was meeting tons of new people and everything was amazing, I felt like I’ve accomplished a lot. Then suddenly, like an unexpected swift jab, someone made a small remark about me. I felt hurt and the worry began flowing in.

Looking back, I don’t even remember what was said. Maybe it had something to do with what I said, or how I said it. The point is it bothered me for hours on end and I was fixating on this comment wondering why they had felt this way.

Why didn’t this person like me? I let this thought linger over my head, despite all the great things that happened that day. Sometimes, there are just tiny things that stick with me, even though I usually am incredible at being resilient and great at enjoying the little things.

Today I felt worried again. A few people didn’t laugh at my jokes. Suddenly, I felt the need to impress them, show them how awesome I am. Another thing from today, someone gestured in my direction then chuckled to his friends. I think he was talking badly about me, oh no. I should say something out loud, flouting my social proof.

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Then I remembered several things. I remembered my mental toolbox of tricks I use to snap myself out of this pointless worry. I applied all the big guns in my head to rid myself of my imaginary tormenter. I was free again.

Over the years, I’ve developed so many mental reminders and belief systems that help me get rid of these worries that seem to come from nowhere, the ones that don’t matter but still seem to hold on to you and drag you down. I want to share these with you.

Stop Trying to Win Others’ Approval

It just isn’t possible to get everyone to like you. Trust me, I’ve tried. This only leads to disappointment on a daily basis, since you can’t possibly live up to the entire world’s expectations.

Here’s a new goal for you instead if you really want to eradicate worry and unhappiness from your life. Focus on what you think of yourself. Who cares what that stranger thinks? If you’re happy with who you are and you know what flaws you should fix then forget about the world. Life is bigger than trying to look awesome; life is about actually being awesome.

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Think, Will It Really Bother You Later?

The first thing I ask myself is, will this negative thought impact me in the future at all? Is it going to decrease my quality of life somehow? More often than not, it’s just something I’ll soon forget about anyways.

So I put myself into the future by a couple days and envision myself. In this vision, I realize that I won’t be bothered by something so miniscule and I most likely wouldn’t even remember it. A lot of times, just the idea of it fleeting away very soon is enough for me to block out these intrusions.

Will I even remember whom it was I was trying to impress? Most likely I won’t remember. Did I remember who made a small negative comment and what it was even about? Nope. Mental toolbox says to take you out of my head and prioritize you at the lowest possible, so I do.

Reflect on How Amazing You Are

When I feel like I’m inadequate based on the need for approval from others, I begin to reflect on my achievements. I think about how much I’ve improved in the past year. I’ve met amazing people, developed active listening skills, and started something I’ve been contemplating for the past two years.

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Looking further back, I transformed from a socially awkward kid to a socially awesome extrovert. All thanks to mental hacks that I consciously yield. I was blessed with true fortunes that others do not have; I was blessed with the gift of self-improvement.

Write

Write anywhere you can, whether it’s in a blog, in your journal, or on a post-it note that you can toss dramatically into the ocean (factor in air resistance). Get those worries out onto paper. Look at it, assess its importance, then shred it, burn it, or toss it into the ocean like I just said.

You can then look back at that paper you just destroyed and laugh at how ridiculous you were being. Who cares if that lady looked at you weird? Who cares that someone may have noticed mustard stains on your pristine white sneakers? Write all of that, then destroy it.

Reflect on Life’s Briefness

Finally, just reflect on how short life is; focus on how life is constantly fleeting. Do you really want to spend what little time you have on this beautiful earth worrying about something you won’t even remember by next week? Don’t be silly, get out there and enjoy life. You’ve got it pretty good, I’d bet. Don’t waste it on needless worry.

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More by this author

Vincent Nguyen

Founder of Growth Ninja

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Last Updated on August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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