I cannot tell you how often it is that someone comes into my office full of worry and stress because of the made up nightmare that is playing in their minds. Let me make this clear. They are not stressed about something that is really happening. They are filled with fear around something that hasn’t happened and may never happen. I will be straight with you when I tell you that I have yet to experience someone’s “worst nightmare” come true.
Very often our negative and awful stories that we are scared might happen, do not happen. It’s actually way more common for them not to happen then happen. It’s literally called “worst case scenario thinking.” This kind of thinking can extremely down grade your quality of life. When you’re focusing on and allowing your imagination to run wild about all the awful things that could go wrong, you’re not able to see all of the things that are working for you and going right.
Do you get caught up with worrying about the future and what “might” happen? It can become a pretty bad habit that leads to a lot of unnecessary anxiety and stress.
If you are reading this and thinking, “I totally do this” then here is a little reality check for you to practice. Throughout the day when you notice that you are going around and around in your head with stress and worry about a situation, stop and ask yourself if it’s a fact. Meaning think about what you are telling yourself and challenge “it” by asking “Is it a fact that (fill in the blank with your worry.) My guess is that what you’re worrying about is more based on a story that you are telling yourself versus a fact. A fact is something that is. It’s concrete. If it’s sunny, it’s sunny. A story is saying well, “I’m worried because “it might” rain later.” Now that is a story because it’s not truth. Start to be aware of when you're telling yourself and getting caught up in your own story of what’s happening. Remember, your story is not real, it's just a story. Remind yourself of what is fact.
At the root of our worry and stress is FEAR. We have a want as humans to be able to see what lies ahead. Some of us are anxiously doing this all day and night. When we can’t see what something looks like, generally we tend to freak out or it breeds us to feel uncomfortable. Some people have a better gage on this then others. I have heard this saying and I believe in it fully: “The degree to which you can handle the unknown absolutely correlates to how successful you are in life.” That is my edited version of the statement, but i really love it and feel that it’s right on point.
When we let go of the need to control or have things pan out a certain way, that simultaneously also allows us to drop a lot of worry and stress. When you experience enough situations that do not go your way and, ironically, worked out for the better, you begin to have proof that it’s not so scary to let go and let life lead. Actually, the good stuff is often in the unexpected.
Plans are going to be broken. That’s just apart of life. When you can roll with fact and actually find that it can lead you on a “mini” or “mega” adventure, the broken plan can become a hidden gem. It’s up to you how you choose to see things. Chances are things are going to work out. Even if they don’t, perhaps they were not meant too and in the end, you and your life will be better for it.