Do you sometimes feel anxious and worried about the next phase in your life. Or, do you feel as if you’re constantly waiting for something? Once something happens, then only will you be able to move forward? Are you waiting for your annual review at work before you can make an important decision. Or, are you waiting for news from your fiance to be able to take the next important step in life together?
Life might seem like a constant waiting game, but it doesn’t need to be.
Sometimes we might be waiting for an outcome or decision which will affect our lives. In the weeks leading up to the final revelation of the decision, we feel jittery and can’t get our thoughts together. We feel that we’ll be at peace once we get the verdict. Till then, we can’t really enjoy anything and our thoughts are plagued by worry and musings of “what may happen…” and “what if?”. We experienced this during school and college as well. Right before exam results and college shortlists, we were on edge for weeks.
At that time, it felt as if that was the toughest hurdle we would ever need to cross. As long as we did well in that one exam, all our life’s problems would be sorted. If we got into that one college, life would be a bed of roses after that. Through experience, we all know that isn’t really the case.
Life gets tougher and decisions have more implications. Looking back now, that one history exam doesn’t seem that important, does it?
We now have important decisions to make, decisions which impact not only us, but other people as well. However, we tend to deal with such problems or situations in the same way we dealt with them when we were children. When I waited for exam results, I felt like my life would be on hold till I got to know how I fared.
Unfortunately, our coping mechanism stays the same over the years.
It’s similar now. When I’m waiting for some important news or decision, I still feel as affected. Old habits die hard. I feel like my life is on hold till I find out what the decision is. But, how does this affect me. Because of this constant nagging worry, I can’t do anything else with full concentration. In fact, nowadays I feel as if there’s always some uncertainty in my life. However, because of that I can’t be a constant worrier either. I mean, I can of course. But, it’s not ideal.
So, I’ve tried to alter my coping mechanism a little. I can’t expect to do the same things, and expect things to be any different. Following are some of the things we can do to detach and worry a little less about things which are uncertain at the moment.
Realize that there are some things which you can’t control
If you’re worrying about 10 things, you’ll realize that you have no control over at least 5 of them. It’s always good to make a list of the things which are bothering you or decisions which you are waiting for, and mark the ones you have no control over, for e.g. like waiting for approval on an application. Once you apply, you might have no further control over whether or not it can get approved, Hence, there’s no point worrying about it.
Get started on the things you can control
There are some things which you can control. And, rather than worrying about those, it’s best to start on them. Once you start taking action, your mind will be occupied as well, and you’ll have less time to worry about it. You’ll also feel better because you would have taken things into your own hands.
Think of the worst-case scenario
Think of what’s the worst that can happen if something doesn’t work out. Most of the time, it won’t be the end of the world. Realize that you might be waiting fervently for something, but everything doesn’t work out. Accept that life will move on no matter what, and you will overcome this as well.
Take each day at a time.
I acknowledge that it’s easy to give this advice but supremely difficult to follow it. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis. I find that it’s always the short-term future which worries me the most. I worry about what’s going to happen in the near-future. The distant future usually doesn’t bother me too much as it’s too far away. For now, I try to take each day at a time. If I find myself worrying too much about tomorrow, I force myself to think of the things which need to get done today and I start on that first.
Get things down on paper and organize your thoughts
Often things seem worse when we’re trying to gather everything in our heads. We might be affected by 10 things, and as we ponder on them, they seem like a 100 things. However, once you put those 10 things down on paper, they’ll seem less daunting to you. Sometimes, all you need is a pen and paper to get your thoughts together.
With these thoughts, let’s have a relaxed Sunday, and use the above ways to tackle any surprises/worries Monday might throw into your path.