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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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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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