The Problem With Worry
One of the most significant causes of stress in people’s lives is worry – wondering and thinking about some undesired outcome that might (or might not) possibly happen in the future. I’m not sure I’d go to Vegas on this, but the reality is that anything can happen. The challenge is that when we don’t know for certain what is going to happen we start to feel out of control. Our brains don’t like not knowing. When we don’t know, we tend to “fill in the blanks” with something just because it’s more comforting than living with not knowing. We create stories. The problem is that the stories we create aren’t always happy ones. Our tendency is to lean toward less favorable (and potentially less likely) scenarios.
The reality is that you don’t know what’s going to happen. Actually, you probably won’t know until it actually happens. I remember one time when I got one of “those” emails from my son’s teacher. She didn’t say why, but she needed to meet with me after school. After a few minutes, I noticed that I was focused on the future conversation with her, and I wasn’t getting my work done. For the next few hours I chose to believe that the reason she wanted to talk with me was because my son had won an award. Just that small shift gave me two extra productive hours of work, instead of 120 minutes of worrying.
So if you are making it all up anyway – my challenge to you is to create a scenario that makes you feel better than you do not knowing. If you’re going to create a story, why not create one that makes you feel good?