• 15 Things to do Instead of Worrying About the Future

    Relaxing in back yard

    If you’re like pretty much every person on the face of the earth, you’ve spent your fair share of time worrying about something that may or may not ever happen. Hell, you may have even just worried about the future in general. Why not? Go big or go home, right?

    But let me ask you this: Has all of that worry ever changed anything? Has it ever improved an outcome? Definitely not!

    But I’m Just a Worrier By Nature

    I know. It’s hard not to worry. It’s engrained in our culture, but rarely is it an immutable trait that you’re just born with. Most of us learned it from watching the adults around us worry when we were kids. We’ve been seeing worry in action since before we even knew what worry was. That’s the bad news.

    The good news is this: What ever you learn, you can unlearn, or at least override for a few minutes or hours at a time. I’m willing to bet that you’ll feel way better doing one of these 15 things than you will worrying:

    1. Smell the flowers. Literally bend over and smell them. Just breathe in their scent and enjoy their wonderful aroma.
    2. Make a list of everything you’re grateful for at the moment. Think about each one and really feel the gratitude in your body, mind, and spirit.
    3. Make a list of things/events from the past that seemed negative at the time but that, in hindsight, you’re actually grateful for. Think about each one and really feel the gratitude in your body, mind, and spirit.
    4. Listen to upbeat music. Don’t do anything else. Just enjoy it. OK, you can dance if you want to, especially if it would be less enjoyable to sit still.
    5. Create something – food, art, crafts, a poem, music, a story. Creativity is a great outlet for all that pent up energy that you’d otherwise use to worry about things.
    6. Do a mindfulness meditation. The only time we can take action is in the present. So be here now.
    7. Do a guided meditation. Take a guided journey to your happy, relaxing, or healing place.
    8. Spend time in nature. There’s very little that’s as settling and/or recharging as nature.
    9. Spend time with friends. Just be in the moment and enjoy their company. Leave your phone in your pocket or purse in silent mode.
    10. Take your favorite beverage out on the deck with you. Enjoy your liquid refreshment in the fresh air. Listen to the birds. Feel the breeze on your skin. Watch the squirrels. Feel a sense of calm come over you. This is all you need right now.
    11. Play like a kid. I mean really play. Run around. Laugh. Squeal. Giggle. Play with no goal other than having fun.
    12. Take a nap in the backyard. It doesn’t matter if it’s in a hammock, in a lounge chair, or just lying in the grass, there’s something super calming about sleeping outdoors in the middle of the day.
    13. Read a book. Great fiction will transport you and make you forget all of your worries and cares.
    14. Laugh. Laughter is one of the antidotes to worry, so laugh. Watch a funny movie or sitcom, go see a stand up comic at the local comedy club, do laughter yoga, search the interwebs for jokes and cartoons, search for funny videos, or laugh the old fashioned way by getting your family to tell each other jokes.
    15. Take a walk. Don’t take your iPod or your phone. Just walk. Pay attention to the buildings, trees, and flowers you pass. Pay attention to the driveways and alleyways you may have never noticed before. Pay attention to how your feet feel as they initially contact the ground, as they make full contact with the ground, and as they push off.

      Finally, if you’re still hell-bent on worrying try doing it in a
      focused way, like this:
    16. Make a list of everything you’re currently worrying about. Go through the list and cross off everything you have no control over. Now go back and see how many things are left. Take each item that’s left and make a list of actionable things you can do to effect a positive outcome. Now do as many of those things as you can. That’s it. You have nothing else to worry about and nothing else you can do, so go to the top of the list and pick something fun to do.

    Don’t worry if you don’t master the art of not worrying as quickly as you’d like, just keep at it. Remember, practice makes perfect. Speaking of which, I think I’ll go practice a few of these right now. Not because I’m feeling a bout of worry coming on, I just like to be proactive. 🙂 

    As always, if you found this post helpful or even just a little amusing, I’d be awfully grateful if you’d share it using the handy buttons just below the post.

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