Turn Worry Into Excitement: Everybody worries about having to get certain things done. I have my own list of things that I’ll never be excited about – like going to the doctor, dentist, accountant, or lawyer’s office. My other favorite is having to use public restrooms – but that’s a topic for another day!
Unfortunately, worry is a renewable resource. The bright side is that there are scenarios we will face throughout our lives that may cause worry in anticipation, but end up yielding joy and excitement afterwards.
I’m sure you have a few worries on your mind. You might be thinking about a relationship or a situation at work. Maybe you need to attend a family event where you will be with those with whom you don’t get along (no, this absolutely does not apply to me).
Worry is a natural occurrence. It can become a problem, though, when it starts to take over your life.
If you want to turn worry into excitement, consider the following suggestions:
Stay In The Present
Worry has a way of trapping you. You’re either ruminating about something which happened long ago, or you’re focusing on a future event.
Worry feeds on your attention like a Ted at Sea World clapping his hands in return for deli meat. It becomes an ugly cycle. It sounds harsh, but force yourself to do something productive that will engage your mind. Make sure it’s something you love to do that will keep you engaged. You’d be surprised how quickly you forget about your worries if you follow this tip. Meditation, exercise, painting, music, crafting and even holding your pet are some things you can do.
Plan For The Event
If it’s a future event, formulate a plan of action to manage the situation when (and if) it happens. How will you handle the situation? In your mind, practice a positive solution to the event. Worry is nothing more than anticipatory anxiety. I’ve learned that the actual event is (usually) not as bad as the anxiety you feel before the event.
Once you’ve planned for the event, envision yourself handling the situation successfully. How does it make you feel? See yourself emerging victoriously.
Ask and Assess
Challenge your worry. What is the worst thing that will happen if you give in to it? Maybe you will fudge the interview. Perhaps you will piss off your family even more (I’m immune to it at this point!). Commit to understanding your worry intimately. What is the source of your negativity? Are you using worry as a way to sabotage your efforts? Peel back the layers until you get down to the heart of the matter. Seek the help of a friend or therapist if necessary.
Consider The Alternative
Worry can become so ingrained that it becomes familiar – perhaps even a comfort. Challenge yourself and find a different way to do things. Consider where this path may take you. You’re going to hate me, but we must learn to enjoy the journey. I must work on this because I am very much a “destination” guy. I’m not a fan of some journeys. But maybe we can start by accepting the fact that it is a journey. After that, perhaps we can learn to like it and even get excited about it. Positive results will fuel our ability to overcome future worries and lead to even more excitement. This is a cycle that I can embrace. ~Ted
1. Figure out the unmet desires that are triggering your anxiety
Often, we worry because we actually want something. In going back to that romantic vacation example, consider that you might be worried about packing, because you’re afraid you won’t get it all done and you’ll ultimately miss your trip. And you really want to take that trip.
A first step for reframing your negative thoughts, in this case, is to identify what it is that you want. Approach life through empowerment by connecting with the unmet desire that is triggering your anxiety. Now, take action to meet that desire.
2. Be friends with your pessimism
Given that defensive pessimism can actually be a good thing, consider reframing the spirit of seeing the half-empty glass into a positive by simply embracing your pessimism. We should work to not be hypercritical of a part of ourselves that’s coming from a good place.
The opposite would be…only expecting rainbows and sunshine, then being wholly unprepared when challenges occur. A certain amount of defensive pessimism is helpful. Remember, you’re not worried, you’re just always prepared, and that’s a great thing.
3. Congratulate yourself
This tip is super helpful for people who can actively recognize they're prone to worrying and know they can’t wear rose-colored glasses, no matter how exciting the future might be. This self-awareness is a good thing and makes rerouting into optimism simpler.
Your awareness of the fact that you’re starting to go off in a gloomy place is actually a step in the right direction. There’s a part of you that recognizes that maybe this is a little bit more intense than it needs to be. Congratulate yourself on seeing that.
4. Turn that restless energy into productivity
Start working to harness worries into something actionable. If your nervousness can be channeled into productivity, go do it (i.e., pack those bags—now!).
We want to make sure that we don’t waste that energy ruminating or spinning out about catastrophic scenarios,. Ask yourself if there is some healthy preparation steps that you can take.
So, start putting away some cash for an upcoming expensive dinner avoid to digging into your savings and triple-check that your partner actually packed their underwear. Think of different ways to harness your nervous anticipatory energy, so instead of worrying about the future, you can enjoy it when it comes.
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