Stop Worrying Over these 8 Things for Mental Peace
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Have you ever felt anxious about feeling anxious?
Me too, almost daily.
Until I finally decided to give it up. I decided to stop obsessing over my racing pulse, my increased blood pressure, and my occasionally flushed face.
Instead, I let myself simply experience these symptoms as fleeting emotions — emotions with somatic responses, as Dr. va der Kolk explains in “The Body Keeps the Score”.
By recognizing these bodily sensations can be temporary body sensations, this, counterintuitively, led to a reduction in their frequency and severity.
Ultimately, I learned to stop worrying about worrying. I became less embarrassed over being embarrassed.
What’s more, when it comes to visible signs of distress and anxiety (like my face that sometimes blushes when I spoke in public) it’s refreshing to remind ourselves that hardly anyone is paying attention to you (in the best way possible!), and that almost nobody will remember it ever happened. Plus, people may be more empathetic than you think.
I’ve created a list of eight things I’ve stopped worrying over — stop worrying over these things, too, for improved mental health and peace.
I hope you also learn to stop worrying about these things, too.
I used to worry about being worried. All the time. I came across a study that showed a connection between worry, anxiety, and cardiometabolic disease and became obsessed. I convinced myself I was going to have a heart attack and die young. And, in fact, as a result of my anxiety and panic attacks and anxiety, I was hospitalized three times with incredibly high blood pressure.
It wasn’t until I addressed my subconscious feelings of a lack of safety (stemming from childhood) when I went to therapy that I realized there’s so much beyond my control, and yet my body always manages to keep me safe.
I try to sleep, move, and feed my body well. That’s it. I trust myself to take care of myself in the now — there’s no need to worry about future details.
Worry is useless. While you may experience worry occasionally, don’t worry about it.
2. Being Perfect
What does it even mean to be perfect? And is it even possible? I remember as a kid, I would throw away my homework if I made even one penmanship error. I wanted my handwriting to be beyond legible — I wanted it to be perfect.
I wanted my points and ideas to be beyond understood and innovative — I wanted them to be perfect. Now I realize there’s no such thing as perfect. As a dynamic, ever-evolving human being, I’m constantly changing my mind on what’s optimal.
Continuing with the handwriting example, my writing used to be forward-slanting as a kid — now, I think that style looks bad. It’s not “ideal” to my current self since my vision of idealness constantly changes.
If your idea of what’s optimal or ideal isn’t constant, how can you ever achieve perfection? I can’t. You can’t. Chasing perfection is pointless.
3. Being On Time All the Time
If you grew up in the US, you’ve probably been indoctrinated to think being on time is not a should, but a must. In other cultures, it’s not only normal to be more flexible with time, it’s sometimes expected.
I’m currently living in Spain — there’s an expression that I love: “Hasta ahora!” which transliterally means “until now,” which really means “see you soon”. The point is, the sense of “now” is not uniform.
So when I happen to show up a few minutes late to class, I forgive myself, I remind myself that worrying about being late isn’t going to solve me being late, and I breathe.
Being on-time has it’s benefits, but being late happens. There’s no point in stressing yourself out when you show up tardy to the party.
4. Being Non-productive
There’s more to life than work, school, and stress. Instead of devoting my life to those three things to be “productive,” I’ve learned to kick my shoes and socks off, leaning against a palm tree under the warm February sun here in Seville, Spain.
Working and going to school full-time (which is what I was doing — until I quit my job. See #6 for more details) is stressful. I found myself feeling guilty when I took breaks, and eventually stopped taking them alltogether.
I now realize that work-life (and school-life) balance are so important. There’s more to life to being productive.
If I want to make art for the sake of making art — I do it. Not all my activities need to have a purpose. Now, I don’t worry about productivity and live.
5. Finding Another Job
As you can probably imagine, going to school and working full-time is demanding. I started losing sleep, began neglecting exercise, and found myself feeling cooped inside my shoebox of a room.
Something needed to change — I’m too deep into my master’s program to quit (plus, I love the subject. I’m studying work and organizational psychology), so I gave up my job. Not only was I not receiving a salary I thought was fair, I was being overburdened with a constant onslaught of new tasks.
While my old self would be worried about finding another job, I now recognize I’ve got skills to fall back on and an amazing resume full of experience.
In fact, I’ve started freelancing again. If you want to hire me to help sell your products on Amazon or Etsy, or you want a successful marketing campaign, let’s talk.
Ultimately, I know things will work out in the end. I’ve got savings in the meantime, and I’ve got options. There’s no need to worry.
6. Not Buying a House in the Near Future
After graduating from my studies, I wanted to buy a house (and frankly, I still do. And by “buy” I mean “put down 20%” — who’s got money to buy in this era?).
I recognized I was putting unnecessary stress on myself. While it’d be incredible to have my own place to call home in this world, I can wait (besides, I’m thinking of taking up van life when I return to the US!)
By reframing my thoughts, I was able to alleviate this pressure I exerted on myself. In the end, it won’t matter if I put off getting a house for a year — or several.
I’m learning to take comfort in the four walls that surround me — even if they’re rented.
There’s no need to worry about tomorrow when you’ve got a roof overhead today.
7. Robinhood Account
It’s the beginning of February 2022 for those reading in the future. This is a time when the markets experienced massive turbulence and plummeted. I “lost” thousands of dollars from these drops.
Or did I?
In reality, I lost some financial gains — at least temporarily — but in spite of this, I haven’t dipped below the actual amount of money I’ve put in the stock market with Robinhood.
I’m not buying or selling — as it’s said, it’s not about timing the market, but time in the market. I’m keeping my investments in, and will only check on my stocks monthly rather than compulsively checking.
Just like you, the stock market has its ups and downs. You no longer have to worry about its dips. Stop worrying about the market.
My Heart Beats Happier Now
After making these positive changes in my life and giving up worrying about these 8 things, I feel my heart rate slow down. I feel my pulse lower. I feel my blood pressure taming itself. I choose to stop worrying.
There are so many other beautiful emotions to feel rather than worry. While worry occasionally comes, I’m now not worried it won’t go.
Question: What do you no longer worry about that you once did?