If you’ve ever wanted to stop worrying, this is for you.
I am a chronic over-thinker.
And terribly inefficient decision-maker.
Then I get overwhelmed.
To the point where I will break down in the middle of the kitchen over something like mismatched socks.
You know what I mean?
It’s not the socks I’m upset about.
But it’s because, leading up to that, all the other little things as similarly mundane as mismatched socks had been building up and piling on until I felt surrounded by an entire mound of mismatched socks, so that final pair of mismatched socks just pushed me over the edge.
Okay, the socks analogy is getting a little weird.
Especially since I never have mismatched socks.
But do you know what I mean?
I’m sure you’ve worried about something you know wasn’t worth worrying about. Overthought something you probably wouldn’t even remember in a month’s time.
Why do we do this?
It never makes any sense
The things I worry about often don’t need worrying about. Even if they do, it’s not to the degree I’ll end up fixating on them.
Yet, I just can’t seem to help myself.
Even if I tell myself to let something go or to stop thinking about it, nine times out of ten, I can’t.
It’s been driving me crazy.
It’s not who I want to be
The “Real Me” is not a worrier or over-thinker. She’s chill and confident, and laughs at finding herself in mismatched socks in the entirely appropriate way that situation demands.
(You know, the “Real You” – the You you are when you’re at your very best, when you’re free of doubt and worry and external pressures and you’re completely who you are. When you feel like you’re glowing.)
But, sadly, I’m feeling less and less like that girl lately.
Instead, I’ve been finding myself worrying a lot more than usual. As I said, I’ve always been a bit of a worrier, but not usually to the extreme, and I’m often pretty good at finding ways to handle it.
The last couple months though, I’ve been worrying a whole lot more, and I’ve gotten really bad at coping with feeling anxious.
[Side note: there’s a small suspicion that this change in behaviour somewhat coincided with me changing my method of birth control. If that’s the case (and it’s a big if – I’ve never heard of hormones affecting anxiety levels?!), this entire post is still valid because even my “normal” levels of worry have still always been too high for Real Me to really shine. I want no levels of worry. (If that’s even possible.)]
No more: I’m going to stop worrying
So today, I decided enough’s enough. I’m making a change: over-thinking and worrying is not for me.
If I want the real, glowing, happy, confident me to show up more, I need to make room for her to be able to. So all the excess thinking, taking up all that precious mind space, has to go.
I don’t even know what prompted this. I’d been having a really great morning – and then a few small issues over the course of one phone call flipped me into being anxious and grumpy, and I hated it.
And I realised I’d been doing that a lot recently. Without even noticing.
I’d been getting far too stressed and defensive about things. Letting inconsequential things take too much power.
Step 1: Decide
When I realised this, I literally pulled out my phone and immediately text my mum (since she usually gets the brunt of my anxiety and/or moods – sorry, Mum).
Right!! I am making a DECLARATION, and you will be held as my witness!!! From NOW ON, I am not stressing, overthinking, or getting tense, uptight, or defensive over ANYTHING. I am living by the motto that everything will be okay, and I can figure it all out. Only the end of the world is the end of the world, so as long as everyone I love is okay, everything else is frosting
And then there were a few emojis on the end as well.
Maybe I should be embarrassed to share that text with you, forever on the internet, but I’m not. Because that text made me really happy. It felt right.
This is the first step: make the decision to stop worrying.
The process of giving up worrying isn’t actually going to be as simple as just making a decision, but that’s why it’s only the first step.
It’s also why it’s the first step: you have to make the decision before you can do anything else.
Decide. Make a promise to yourself.
Because you can’t break promises to yourself. (They’re the most sacred kind.)
Step 2: stop worrying?
I’ll be honest, I hadn’t considered a step two when I wrote that text – in a moment of complete uncharacteristic behaviour, I managed to bypass all my usual overthinking and just act.
I think I knew I needed to this time.
But once I pressed send (and felt AWESOME for having made that decision and then instantly committed to it), I realised I was going to need some tools and safety rails and other support-y type things that I could fall back on when, at some point in the near future, the initial joy of that decision faded and a bunch of overwhelming stuff came up.
Because stressful stuff will come up, and I’m going to need to know how to handle it. It’s easy to be in a great mindset when everything’s going well. But it’s keeping that mindset when all the shizzle hits the turbine.
Cue: this blog post right here.
A 66-Day Experiment
It’s commonly quoted that it takes 21 days to form a habit. But apparently that’s wrong.
(I looked it up.)
A study back in 2009 found it took people between 18 to more-than-254 days to get a new habit to stick. The average? Sixty-six days.
So, I’m going to assume (hope) that I am at least average enough in acquiring a new habit, and make this a 66-day experiment.
Sixty-six days of no worrying, stressing, or overthinking.
Sixty-six days of being chill and trusting everything will work out okay in the end.
I’ll keep you updated
I don’t really have a plan as to how exactly I’m going to adopt this new habit. I don’t think it’s going to be as simple as just “stop worrying” (otherwise I would have done that years ago)!
But I’m going to figure it out as I go, and I’ll keep you updated.
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