I was talking to my mom the other day, who’s now 79 years young and has seen a lot in life—survived a lot, and worried a lot. She was telling me how she was lying in bed the other morning trying to recall someone’s name and couldn’t think of it, which of course, put her in a tailspin of worry, thinking she (like her sister and her mom before her) could be showing signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s.
Scary stuff. I get it. But worry doesn’t ever improve one’s situation. In fact, what’s the saying? “Worrying is praying for what you don’t want.”
This is because we give so much energy to situations in our life that aren’t working, or we overthink and fret about an emotional trigger, that eventually those situations start to unfold based on the way we continuously revisit those topics. Or we simply get stuck in our brain’s neurological habituated grooves that get reinforced over time by the way we become conditioned to think.
I said, “Mom. Even after 79 years of being on this planet you still worry. Whatever happened to all the things you’ve spent so much time and energy worrying about?”
That’s not to say bad things don’t happen. Of course they do, but when we’re in the middle of a crisis or solving a problem or overcoming a huge challenge in life, we’re in it. We’re not worrying about it. We’re trying to improve the situation or come up with a solution or ease our pain. That’s not worrying; that’s discovering that we have the resources to overcome that which seems impossible. That’s dealing with the moment of now; it’s not living out of a fearful future that may or may not occur.
So here are two simple ways of thinking to turn those dark worry clouds into bright rays of sunshine:
1. Gratitude. What else is there? Except for thankfulness for being here on this planet, being on your journey, going on the ride.
2. Envisioning what we do want. Einstein said, “Your imagination is your preview of life’s coming attractions.” What does this mean? Basically, what we give energy to, what we focus on, what we imagine and ultimately believe is what eventually comes to pass in our experience.
That’s a novel idea: spending more time envisioning how you’d like your life to be—what kinds of jobs you want to book and what kind of work you wish to create. What stories you want to tell and how you want to tell them. How you can change the world by performing and writing and creating? And how much value and significance you bring to peoples’ lives? That’s an infinitely healthier (and more beneficial and joyful) way to spend your time and energy than worrying about what may or may not happen in your love life, in your career, in your acting, or in life in general. It’s simply a much more empowered way to live.
So what if you tried just a little more to stop giving energy to things that not only make you unhappy, but keep you in a neural groove that’s habituated by worry and worst-case-scenario thinking?
Your life would improve dramatically. So would your relationships and your creativity.
Oh, and my mom trying to recall her friend’s name? She remembered it right after she had breakfast. Of course she did.
All that worry for nothing.
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