Worry Less, Do More: Five Steps to Positive Thinking & Action in the New Year!
On occasion, I can spend a good portion of the wee hours with Mr. What If and Ms. Worrywart, my own self-perpetuated late night visitors. And I don’t like it (or them). I could be sleeping or contemplating my navel or anything but spinning my wheels over something that hasn’t happened or that is out of my control. Honestly, I’ve never had a New Year’s resolution like losing weight or exercising more, but I do have one this year. I don’t want to worry as much as I do. And I know I’m not alone. We, Americans, are an anxious bunch. We do yoga. We meditate. We visit the therapist—all to get our minds on the positive train to bliss. I found a lot of advice on this topic, which (not to worry) I’ve honed down to five steps that actually worked for me. I tried them out at 2 a.m. and everything.
But first, let me add a caveat—worrying is a necessary component of positive change. You have to sense that something is wrong in order to fix it, and that’s a good thing. We just don’t want to ruminate too long on the wrong things at the wrong time.
So here’s a five-step plan to getting over it or getting something done:
1. Exercise: Get a workout in! It’s no secret that exercise boosts mood. Runner’s high is a reality. If done in a natural setting, exercise is particularly effective at helping us think clearly. Afterwards, you’ll be better able to determine whether you’re fretting about something real or imagined.
2. Talk: Studies show that gabbing with your gal pals can reduce your stress. For me, just announcing that I’m Miss Cranky Pants makes me less cranky. Your friends can help you sort through your situation, just by listening. It’s as simple as that.
3. Meditate: What if you toss and turn at 2 a.m.? You can’t call a friend or go for a run, or you shouldn’t. But you can meditate, which might bring you into the present moment and help you find clarity. Ask yourself, what are you afraid of? Fear is the primary driver of anxiety. Figure out your source of fear, and you’re halfway to happiness.
4. Decide: Evaluate whether you can do something differently to alleviate the situation, or not. Can you save the elephants in Botswana? Maybe, but if you’re living on a farm in Kansas, probably not. Should you apologize to a friend for some off-color remark? That might work. Just remember the old adage, choose your battles.
5. Act: If you can change the situation, make a plan and then do it. If you can’t, your action is simple: just change your mind. My yoga instructor used to get the class in a balancing posture; 30 people would be wobbling together and looking uncomfortable. Then he’d say, “Are you having trouble controlling yourself? Now, imagine trying to control everyone in this room. Focus on what you can do, people.” I always liked that moment.
It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.—Buddha
Deanna Lynn Wulff is the author of the forthcoming book, The Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost: Hard Hikes for Wild Women. Follow her blog, Minerva’s Moxie, for weekly words of wisdom on health, hiking, and happiness.
The post Worry Less, Do More: Five Steps to Positive Thinking & Action in the New Year! appeared first on Live Stonewear.