How to stop worrying in 5 minutes

 

Dear friends,

Do you worry a lot? Do you find yourself thinking of all the things that could go wrong today or tomorrow or 5 years from now? Are you scared of not having the perfect bullet-proof plan and does this prevent you from enjoying your life today? If you do, this article is for you!

 

I started reading a very promising book – How to stop worrying and start living by Dale Carnegie. As any good book that aims to help you solve a problem, it begins by talking about the problem itself. Carnegie warns us that worry can have devastating effects on our health and ultimately our lives. He urges us to get rid of worry by saying that “Those who do not know how to fight worry die young.” If this does not make you want to stop worrying, I do not know what will.

But if you are like me and you wish to regain control of yourself and your mind, keep reading! After telling us about the damage worry can cause, Dale Carnegie goes on to provide us with techniques we can apply. The first solution is a simple and effective exercise that only takes a few minutes. He learned it from Galen Litchfield – a successful American businessman. And I wanted to share it with you. Here’s what you need to do.

 

The exercise

Whenever you are worried, sit down and take a sheet of paper. Write down 2 questions and the answers to them. The questions as they are in the book:

  1. What am I worrying about?
  2. What can I do about it?

When answering the second question, you can think of a few scenarios that come to your mind. And you will see what the outcome of each scenario would be. Then, choose the best scenario and act on it! This final step is perhaps the most important one. Unless we decide what course of action we should take and actually take action, we may stay stuck in the same situation pondering what we should do forever! Ok, maybe not forever – but even one day of worry is too much!

 

Sunshine’s experience

When I read about this exercise, I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical. It seems so simple and easy that I could not believe it would work. So I tried it myself yesterday. One of the reasons why I worry a lot right now is because I do not have a major goal in life. I few months ago I had to let go of one dream I focused on for years. And I eventually found something that satisfies me and challenges me more and in different ways. But even though I started blogging, my vision was never clear enough. So over the last few months I started losing my motivation and I sometimes wonder what I should do. And I constantly worry because I am not sure what I should do next. So as soon as I read about this exercise, I sat down with a notebook and a pen. Here’s what I wrote down:

  1. What am I worrying about?
    I do not know what goal to pursue. This makes me feel confused and insecure and it keeps me stuck.
  2. What can I do about it?
    Scenario 1: Keep worrying and continue to be stuck in limbo (After writing this I told myself that I cannot do this any longer)
    Scenario 2: Find a purpose that is worth pursuing at the moment. Decide to act on it even though it might not be my calling.

Once I wrote these lines, it all became clear. So the next thing I did was to decide on a goal that I will pursue for a year.
I was so amazed by the power of this exercise that I immediately wanted to share it with you. And while I was working on it, I realized how brilliant it is! Here’s why:

  1. While writing down what your problem is, you will pinpoint the main issue. You will leave out all the unnecessary details that you torment yourself with in your mind. This will help you look at the problem in a more objective and simplified way.
  2. While writing the possible scenarios, you will instantly realize what you want and what you don’t want. However, if you only think about these, you can only think about intricate paths that all combine in a maze with no exists. And it all seems hopeless. You feel like no paths is good enough. But write them down and the one that is right for you will probably be obvious.
  3. When forcing yourself to write, you will refrain from thinking of countless unrealistic and impossible scenarios. You will not want to write 50 pages of possibilities that you know will never actually happen. But, for some strange reason, you might think them. It’s easier to get caught up in thoughts than in written words. Use this to your advantage.
  4. It is a simple exercise that only takes a few minutes. And it may spare you the pain of wasting hours upon hours of worrying and overthinking.

 

It seems that our problems are often complicated, but the solutions are simple. Who knew that two questions can stop thousands of worries and thoughts from taking over our minds? I suppose that we should learn how to appreciate the beauty of simplicity once again. After all, simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication!

 

Always yours,
Sunshine

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