Worrying is exhausting.
Have you considered how much time and energy you spend doing it? If you are like the rest of us, the answer is a lot. From small, mundane things to large, life-changing events, our worrying spans across all aspects of existence.
As discussed last week, we have a limited amount of time and energy every day. If we use it worrying, we can't use it being creative, solving problems, working effectively, or enjoying life. This is akin to "decision fatigue," where the quality of your decisions deteriorates as you make more of them throughout your day.
The message is simple - we don't have an unlimited amount of anything, so we need to use what we have wisely.
Which brings us back to worry. Eckhart Tolle says:
"Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose."
Intellectually most of us know that's true, and it's easy to say that worry gets you nowhere, so stop doing it. But, it's hard to implement those instructions.
One strategy I often see repeated is "imagine the worst-case scenario." The hypothesis is if you face and accept the absolute worst thing that might happen in any given situation, you can let go of worry easier.
Here's the problem with that hypothesis: you are giving your mind free rein to run amok, inventing terrible scenarios that might happen (but, most likely won't), and causing you to dwell on negative outcomes.
Is this really going to lessen your fear, stress, and anxiety?
And, the odds that you can look at the worst-case scenario, accept it, and move on with your day without more thought on the subject are slim. Our minds simply don't work that way...they are compulsive, and they keep dragging us out of the present moment to ruminate on "maybes, mights, and what ifs."
Left to their own accord, our minds tend to paint bleak pictures of how the future will be. Again, it's exhausting.
There is an alternate and more skillful solution: instead of following your mind wherever it leads, you can choose not to participate in the stories it creates.
You can see the folly of spending your limited time and energy caught up in thoughts and emotions about imaginary circumstances. And, you can reallocate it to the present moment and what you are doing here and now: working, playing, relaxing, et cetera.
You do this by developing a consistent meditation practice, and bringing mindfulness to your daily life (see our free guide below).
"The only reason your mind won't stop its endless chattering is because you won't stop listening to it." - Guy Finley