Be it about a test, a job interview, or going to a party where you know absolutely no one, we all experience that dark cloud that is Worry.
I've always called worry my "full time job" and as I've gotten older, I notice that it's a lot of peoples' full time job. We walk around thinking about all of the things that we have to do in a day, about the expectations that we feel we have to meet, and so much more.
I think Erma Bombeck said it the best; "Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere." But that's not very helpful when it comes to what to do when you start to worry about something.
I'm not here to tell you to, "Stop worrying," because how many times has that actually helped someone? But here are a list of things that might help when you start to worry about something and need it to get off of your mind.
1. Write down what you're worried about and why.
Write down the best things that could come out of it from smallest to largest. Then, write down the negatives—try writing out exactly what you are worried about in bold (or in red), and underneath write down all of the reasons that you are worried about it. Try to write down from the smallest reason to the worst possible thing you could imagine. Along with the worst reasons, write down how that could be solved.
I could make a new connection.
I could have a great interview.
I could be what they're looking for.
I could get the job.
I could fumble over words -> Everyone fumbles over words, it's okay.
I could not have an answer to a question -> I could learn the correct answer if I don't know the answer.
I could get the job and have it be harder than I expect -> I could learn from the job and therefore learn something about myself.
I could not get the job -> I can go back out there and find a job I may be better at.
2. Talk to a friend.
Sometimes, all we need to do is vocalize what's going on in our head. Ask a friend if it would be okay with them if you expressed something that has been on your mind. And make sure you let them know if you'd like their advice or if you just need someone to listen to you so that you can talk through what you're thinking.
It sounds silly to ask that question, but in the long run, it really helps the conversation. Sometimes, advice is great because you could end up having an option you never even thought about. Sometimes it's just best for you to speak it out loud simply so you can hear it yourself.
3. Distract yourself.
There is a difference between distracting yourself and avoiding the issue.
Sometimes, especially if it's something like sending a risky text or waiting to hear back from an audition, a distraction is a miracle. Be it going to a movie with friends, taking a nap, or playing a game on your phone.
If you try to avoid worry, it's just going to come back worse. But if you acknowledge that you're just going to distract yourself for a few moments, knowing that you will address your worry at another time, it will at least relieve some stress in the moment.
4. Talk to a professional.
Some people love therapy, some people absolutely hate it. But if therapy is for you, it's a great way to at least make your worry less daunting.
Even if it's something small, sometimes a professional will be able to figure out what is really worrying you or find a deeper issue that you are able to address.
5. Say hello to your worry.
Sometimes we don't know what's worrying us, but we are aware that something is nagging at our subconscious. We spend hours trying to figure it out and instead of figuring it out, we end up worrying about what's worrying us.
It's okay to step back and say to yourself "Oh. I'm worried about something, but I'm not sure what. Okay, I'll keep that in mind and maybe it'll come to me, but I'm going to go about my day just knowing that there's something going on."
Whatever Has You Worried...
...you will figure it out and deal with it in the best way that you possibly can.
I am not a professional, I haven't studied the sensation of worry or interviewed a group of people to get scientific numbers. I'm just a full-time worrier who is here worrying about all of the people in the world who are worried and are not sure what to do.
So maybe worry is like a rocking chair but you have the ability to leave the rocking chair when you feel ready. And if you need to sit and rock for a bit, you are totally in your right to do that. But maybe this list has helped you to get up and continue on.