Worry.

I worry a lot. When I lost my job shit was getting scary. Things like “what if I can’t pay my bills?” and “why can’t I find work?” went through my head. I freaked out, but as it turned out, the solution to my excessive worries was easier than I expected. Many of us worry about all kinds of things: Work, relationships, money, health. Some concerns are real, but many are unnecessary.

No matter what kind of worry you have, the response in your body is always the same: It increases your cortisol levels.

Let’s face it: If you don’t stop worrying, you will die. That’s not me talking. That’s your body talking.

In the past year and a half, I’ve studied worry, stress, fear and anxiety almost every day. My findings? Don’t try to relieve stress and worry, but eradicate it. Address it head on.

“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.”  — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Relief Doesn’t Work

This is what most people do when they experience stress and worry:

  • Take it out on your partner or family
  • Drink alcohol, take drugs, or both
  • Binge-watch Netflix
  • Play video games
  • Go on a vacation
  • Party all night
  • Have sex

Be honest, how long do these things make you forget about your worries? 10 minutes, half hour, a day? It doesn’t last. As soon as you get back to the reality of your life, worry and stress smack you in the face.

Distracting yourself from your life doesn’t work and yet, many of us keep doing it. I’ve read many articles on this behavior. Some say it’s because we have too much free time, some say it’s because of culture, some say it’s because how we are wired.

To be honest, it’s not important to understand the why. We just have to look at the facts: People worry too much, and that can destroy your life. It’s more important to focus your attention on addressing worry.

“Never let the future disturb you. You will meet it, if you have to, with the same weapons of reason which today arm you against the present.” ― Marcus Aurelius

Turn Worry Into Constructive Process

Worry is often about the future. It goes something like this: What if…

“She doesn’t like me anymore?”
“I lose my job?”
“I can’t pay my bills?”
“I fail this exam?”
“I don’t get this promotion?”
“My business doesn’t take off.”

And then we make up consequences. It goes something like this: I have to…

“Be single.”
“Find a new job.”
“Borrow money from my parents.”
“Quit school because I failed.”
“Stay at this job another year.”
“Be ashamed because everyone thinks I’m a failure.”

Then we think: “I can’t handle that.” And finally, we think: “The world is going to end.”

If your thought process is the way described above, worry controls you.

“You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” — Albert Einstein

Nowadays, I try to worry less because I trust my ability to handle everything that life throws at me.

Because knowledge, skills and character are the only things that no one can take from you, every minute you spend on learning something is well spent.

No matter what happens, trust in your ability to address it. So start now.

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