Most of what you worry about will never happen. Or, if it does happen, it probably won’t happen the way you worried it would. So, for better or for worse, worrying is more of a time suck from the present than a time saver for tomorrow. But, this is all relatively old news, and we all probably know that we should try and worry less. So, how do we actually do it?
I recently came across a blog post exploring questions that can help you stop spiraling when you find yourself worrying. I decided I would do my own take on the topic and discuss what I learned here. First, let’s get into the questions.
- Is it true?
- Are you absolutely sure it’s true?
- What are your feelings on the thought?
- Who would you be without the thought?
Let’s pretend you’re worried about your boss firing you.
Let’s begin with question number one: is it true?
You think you might get fired, and you’re pretty sure based on some emails you oversaw that the firing will happen today. So let’s say yes, it’s true.
Ok, now question number two: is it absolutely true?
When you come to this question, you will find 99% of the time that you can’t answer with certainty that most things are absolutely true. Therefore, you will usually have to answer “no,” hopefully providing at least an ounce of relief that what you are worried about might not even ever come to fruition.
In this example, you’re pretty sure you’ll get fired, but you haven’t spoken with your boss yet — you just saw some negative emails about you. So, ultimately, no, you can’t be absolutely certain that you will lose your job.
Question three: What are your feelings on the thought?
What happens when you believe that you will be fired?
- I am angry
- I feel disappointed in myself
- I feel undervalued at work
- I feel sad
- I feel stressed about supporting myself
“One simple thought causes a lot of damage and brings you to a variety of low places every time you believe it” — Chris Winfield, entrepreneur and author of the blog post.
Question four: who would you be without that thought?
Who would you be without all the negativity taking up your emotional energy and brainpower? How would you react and respond to your work? Your friends and family? To yourself?
- I would feel better about myself
- My relationships would be better
- I could live in the moment
- I would feel self-confident
You’ll quickly come to notice that most of the things you worry about bring you much more damage than good. Because worrying about something cannot actually fix the situation anyway, it is almost always bringing a net negative impact on your life.
One thought can spiral into multiple negative headspace and emotions while choosing to not worry about that one thought can leave you grounded and peaceful.
Dedication to a single thought can lead you to a mindset that will make or break your day. Make that thought a good one.
Interested in more mental health tips? Here are some of our other blog posts