My tendency to overthink sets me up to be a major worrier. From mentally racking through my to-do list to wondering what so-and-so meant by that comment to stressing about deadlines…I could worry allllllllll day long.
It may not be possible to live a life entirely absent of worry. However, once you understand the damage it causes to your mental health, you can finally learn how to snip those strings of negative thoughts.
Anxiety can’t be turned off like a light switch, but over these past few months, my worries have gradually diminished. This change has led me to gain more joy from life than I have in a while. The less energy I devote to fretting, the more I can fully appreciate each moment as it comes.
Here are 5 things I have decided to stop worrying about, and you should do the same!
1. BEING PERFECT
I used to think my perfectionism was not problematic, but I eventually realized that it was doing more harm than good. Striving for perfection can easily lead to procrastination. I often put off drafting blog posts because I fear that my work won’t meet my high expectations. It can also result in an all-or-nothing mentality. Take dieting, for example. If you “mess up” and eat a cookie, you may become consumed by food guilt and ditch your healthy eating habits altogether. You weren’t able to follow the diet to a T, so you give up on it (just another reason why diets are a no-no!).
Whether you are concerned about writing the “perfect” paper, or eating “perfectly” healthy, or giving the “perfect” speech, or having the “perfect” hairstyle…drop those expectations. Perfectionism is unobtainable, so don’t waste time worrying about reaching it!
2. THE PAST
Overanalyzing conversations I’ve had or decisions I’ve made is one of my (toxic) specialities. Did I sound stupid when I asked that question? What if I made a mistake? Could the other choice have been a better one? There is no benefit to worrying about what can’t be changed. What’s happened has happened. Here’s a rule of thumb: If it is not going to matter in five years, don’t spend more than five minutes stressing about it.
3. THE FUTURE
I worry a lot about what’s to come. It might be a presentation I have to give in class the next day…or where I will go to college next year…or what my life might look like a decade from now. The part of me that finds security in control hates that the future is so hazy, but lately, I’ve found excitement in the unknown.
“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own” (Matthew 6:34, NIV).
4. WHAT OTHERS THINK
It is human nature to want to be accepted by those around us. However, people probably don’t care about you as much as you might think. As sad as it sounds, most thoughts we have are self-centered. You are not the forefront of others’ minds. Overall, it’s important to remember that your life is your business, you know what is best for you, and you are the one who will be stuck with the consequences of your choices. Do not conform to beauty standards that don’t make you happy, say things you don’t mean, or do things you don’t enjoy.
5. WHAT YOU COULD BE DOING
Delaying your to-do list to hang out with friends is okay. The occasional Netflix break from homework will not kill you. I am guilty of worrying about the things I could be getting done instead of being fully present in a conversation or indulging in much needed rest. Productivity is great and all, but incorporating self-care, integrating stress-relieving practices, and getting a good night’s sleep are just as critical. If a task is really pressing, then get it done. But if you are actively choosing to rest, allow yourself to be at peace without worrying about other responsibilities.
There are certain things that don’t deserve your energy, and these were 5 of them. Some worry is inevitable, but I hope you found this post helpful! What is something you will stop worrying about?