Hello dear reader.
Lately, I’ve been finding a lot of inspiration in what certain quotes bring to mind. Glancing at them doesn’t get it. You have to stop and let your mind wrap itself around what they say and, more importantly, what they mean. How do they relate to your own life? Here’s the one I picked for today…..
“Little minds have little worries, big minds have no time for worries.”
By Ralph Waldo Emerson
Worry…who doesn’t do that? I think we all do it, some more than others. I’ve figured out over the years that worry is something that should be avoided if possible. Here are reasons why…
1. Worry fixes nothing. No matter how much you worry about any given thing, it will not change the outcome. For example, say you’re a student with an important exam coming up in a subject you struggle with and you’re worried about it. Will that improve your grade? Of course not! The way to make a better grade is to study.
2. Worry actually makes things worse. Worry is often a self-fulfilling prophecy. Let’s go back to that exam you’re worried about. Worrying about it causes stress, right? Stress interferes with your ability to think clearly. It also impedes your ability to relax, which can cause you to lose sleep. Loss of sleep also interferes with you ability to think clearly. You see where this is going?
3. Worry can blow things out of proportion. Monsters hide in the dark. When you worry about things they grow in your mind. Continuing with our example about the exam, worry can blow it up from a single exam to your entire future. Who hasn’t done this before? “If I blow this exam, I’ll fail that class. If I fail that class, my GPA will drop. If my GPA drops, I could lose my scholarship. If I lose my scholarship, I won’t be able to graduate. If I don’t graduate, I’ll end up flipping burgers for the rest of my life. If I end up flipping burgers for a living, nobody will ever want to marry me. If nobody wants to marry me, I’ll be old and alone.” Etc., Etc. Your head has convinced you that you will lose any chance at a happy life if you don’t do well on this one exam. How many times has the unknown been much worse than the reality?
4. Worry is habit forming. Have you ever met someone who worries constantly about everything? They can’t stop. Once your head starts feeding into worry, it becomes a vicious circle. One worry leads to another, which leads to another, which eventually leads to worrying about how much you worry. Okay, that may be a little extreme, but you get my point.
5. Worrying wastes your time and energy. Worrying is exhausting! Back to our exam, your brain is too busy running scenarios of what might happen if you do poorly (see #3) to have time or energy to absorb the information you need to do well on the exam. There are only so many things you can focus on at once. So you decide to go to a study group, where you spend the entire time talking about how worried about the exam you are. So you’ve wasted three hours and exhausted yourself for absolutely no gain. And the point is…???
6. Worry robs you of happiness. This is probably the most important reason of all to avoid worrying. You cannot be worried and happy at the same time. It’s just plain not possible. It’s a proven fact that happy people are more productive people. Back to our exam one last time…it’s simply a choice. You can choose to study hard and do the best you can. That mindset allows happiness. You can also choose to have thoughts that say it’s not not good enough. You need to find something more. That mindset will lead to worry and frustration…the opposite of happiness
I can hear you now, “But Lynnette, sometimes you can’t help but worry. Haven’t you ever been in a situation like that? Are you trying to tell me that you just don’t worry at all?” Of course I worry! My kids will vouch for that fact. However, I don’t allow myself to stay worried, and that changes everything. When I begin to worry about something, I ask myself three questions…
1. Why am I worried about this?
2. Is there anything that I can do to make the situation better?
3. If I’ve done everything I can, why am I still holding on to this?
Those questions bring me back into focus, into reality. I’ve done all I can, so let it go.
I’ve learned over the years that while things may not work out the way I want them to, they do work out the way they’re supposed to. Some people call that faith. I honestly don’t know if it’s faith or simply experience. Whatever you want to call it, it leaves no room for worry.
So what do you think? Do you have little worries? Big worries? Or a big mind?
Until next time…