I’ve been thinking about happiness a lot lately. I’ve also been taking a really close look at some of the habits and routines that play in my daily life. Some habits are wonderful and work really well for me, other habits suck me out of my happy go lucky mood.
I’ve noticed that sometimes all of us unknowingly hold on to little, obsessive habits that cause us a great deal of stress. I realized that most of the habits that bring me stress are kind of useless. I have ten that I’ve Identified so far within myself. Here is one that I think is a big culprit of losing your sense of happiness.
Worrying about stuff
So worrying about anything is a waste of time. If you’re preoccupied with “what ifs” and worst-case scenarios, worry becomes a problem. Unrelenting doubts and fears can be paralyzing. They can sap your emotional energy, send your anxiety levels soaring, and interfere with your daily life.
You can easily get stuck in the ridiculous habit of worrying about things chronically because you think that doing it is productive. You have mixed feelings about your worries. On one hand, your worries are bothering you—you can’t sleep, and you can’t get these pessimistic thoughts out of your head. But there must be a reason these worries make sense to you or you just wouldn’t do it.
For example, you may think:
“Maybe I’ll find a solution.”
“I don’t want to overlook anything, maybe I’m missing something.”
“If I keep thinking a little longer, maybe I’ll figure it out.”
“I don’t want to be surprised, I have to figure out what will happen if it doesn’t work out.”
“I want to be responsible, this is important and I must think about it.”
Some people feel like a victim to their worry and find themselves worrying about how much they worry. The stress and anxious thoughts can feel uncontrollable. So if you find yourself worrying about something, what can you possibly do? You’ve tried lots of things, from distracting yourself, reasoning with your worries, and trying to think positive, but nothing seems to work.
Luckily, there is a lot of stuff you can do. The first thing to realize is that worrying is nothing more than a set of habits that you’ve practiced. Take a look and see if you do any of these and realize it’s just a habit that can easily be changed.
All-or-nothing thinking – Looking at things in black-or-white categories, with no middle ground. “If I fall short of perfection, I’m a total failure.”
Overgeneralization – Generalizing from a single negative experience, expecting it to hold true forever. “I didn’t get hired for the job. I’ll never get any job.”
The mental filter – Focusing on the negatives while filtering out all the positives. Noticing the one thing that went wrong, rather than all the things that went right.
Diminishing the positive – Coming up with reasons why positive events don’t count. “I did well on the presentation, but that was just dumb luck.”
Jumping to conclusions – Making negative interpretations without actual evidence. You act like a mind reader, “I can tell she secretly hates me.” Or a fortune teller, “I just know something terrible is going to happen.”
Catastrophizing – Expecting the worst-case scenario to happen. “The pilot said we’re in for some turbulence. The plane’s going to crash!”
Emotional reasoning – Believing that the way you feel reflects reality. “I feel frightened right now. That must mean I’m in real physical danger.”
‘Shoulds’ and ‘should-nots’ – Holding yourself to a strict list of what you should and shouldn’t do and beating yourself up if you break any of the rules
Labeling – Labeling yourself based on mistakes and perceived shortcomings. “I’m a failure; an idiot; a loser.”
Personalization – Assuming responsibility for things that are outside your control. “It’s my fault my son got in an accident. I should have warned him to drive carefully in the rain.”
So all of these are the fun things we like to do to run ourselves crazy when worrying about something. If you are doing any of the above, and most likely you are, then you have identified your illogical way of looking at an issue. It may be more than one of the above, identify them and realize that they are simply habits that you have repeated enough times to make sense of your worrying. Another thing to keep in mind is that NONE of the above are truth statements, these are all things that we have used to determine the future outcome of something that hasn’t happened yet. If you are worried, then you are negatively orienting your thoughts and suffering the consequences now for something that isn’t even real. After you identify your pattern, ask yourself these questions on the thoughts that are dominating your worry.
Is there a more positive way of looking at the situation?
What would I feel like if none of this was a big deal?
How would I rather look at this situation, what kind of person would I rather be?
Can decide to look at this how ever I want? It is my own mind and I can decide how I look at the situation. I am really good at deciding what and How I focus, how do I choose to look at this?
What would I say to a friend who had this worry?
This is how I get rid of always worrying about stuff. It got easier and easier in a very short amount of time as I formed a new habit. Eventually I had the realization that worrying about things is a waste of time. In fact, I found that worrying about things was actually my way of distracting myself from the real issues, things that I could take action on.
Remember, have fun and don’t take your thoughts so seriously. Stay tuned, Next Blog will will be the second habit I identified that can suck away your awesome happiness. – Constant People Pleasing.