Tips for When You Find Yourself Worrying About the Future
Let me ask you, how often do you find yourself worrying about things that haven’t even happened, and might not even happen? Things like…
What if I go and I have a panic attack?
What if I never overcome anxiety and this is what the rest of my life looks like?
What if I get a horrible disease?
What if I say or do something really silly?
What if something really bad happens?
What if I can never do (fill in the blank)?
What happens when I die?
Let’s admit it, we could endlessly add to this list. But, it’s super unproductive to worry about things that haven’t yet happened, and may never happen, so let’s dive into some things that will help you work through your worries about the future!
First, let me start by saying that having some anxiety surrounding the future and the unknown is natural. It's totally natural to have anxious thoughts and worries about the future. And it’s important to remind yourself that you are allowed to feel anxious, and it’s actually quite “normal.” Feeling anxious is an emotion that we all feel, and feeling it doesn’t mean that there’s something horribly wrong, or that there’s something horribly wrong with you.
Acknowledge the worry. I know that this may sound really silly but hear me out! When we have what if, uncomfortable, or scary thoughts, we typically try to push them away, fight them, or ignore them. Save yourself the unnecessary battle and allow yourself to acknowledge the worry, and also allow yourself to process and feel your emotions for a few seconds. Acknowledging the worry and allowing yourself to feel it, isn’t going to cause the worry to come true. It’ll just allow you to process it, rather than allowing the worry to lead to symptoms, panic, or fear.
Challenge your thoughts! Challenging your thoughts in moments of calm can really help to bring a clearer and more realistic perspective to your worries and fears. Have you had this thought before? Has this worry ever happened? Did anything catastrophic happen? What’s the likelihood of the worry happening? Asking yourself these questions will also allow you to talk through your worries and fears and process them in a healthier way.
Work to embrace uncertainty. Practicing feeling the uncomfortable feelings that come along with uncertainty will help you to become more comfortable with uncertainty. Because the reality is, there is so much uncertainty in life. And you’ve faced uncertainties countless times and have always come out the other side of them. The next time you feel uncomfortable because there are uncertainties present, allow yourself to feel it and do the thing anyway! There is lots of peace on the other side of embracing uncertainty.
Practice being present. Practices like mindfulness, meditation, gratitude, breathing exercises, grounding practices, and journaling, are all things that can help you to be more present. Mindfulness practices are designed to help you see the value in living in the present moment, and they actually help you to stay more present! And don’t expect mindfulness practices to be easy, because they aren’t. It takes practice! Healthy practices like mindfulness are worth practicing, because the unhealthy habits that you're currently dedicating so much time to, is what’s leading to all of the things that you’re trying so hard to push past.
Move your body. Don’t underestimate this one! I’m not telling you to move your body because you need to become healthier physically. Our brains are so complex, but they often just need basic things like movement! Moving your body helps to relieve stress, anxiety, and it gives your mind more clarity. And when you're feeling anxious, moving your body is a great way to redirect your brain and get it present. Find something that you enjoy doing that involves moving your body and do it on a routine basis!
Talk through your worries with someone, or journal them. Sharing your worries and fears will help you to process the worries rather than holding them in and cycling through them. I have an amazing community of people on Instagram, and also through my private Facebook group for those who are a part of my online course, and these can be great places to share and talk through your worries. It’s also really helpful to talk through your worries with loved ones, friends, and a therapist. I also recommend journaling because it’s another way for you to get out and process the worries that you might be cycling through that are causing lots of tension in your mind.
Focus on the things you have control of. This one's kind of obvious, huh? It is, but we often lose sight of focusing on the things we have control of because we’re so busy focusing on all of the things that we don’t have control of. Here are a few examples of things that you have control of:
What you tell yourself (your self-talk)
How you respond to your thoughts and challenges
How you act on your feelings
The actions you take
What information you take in
There is so much that you have control of, and on what and where you put your focus matters. The less time you spend focusing on all of the stuff you don’t have control of (and will never have control of), and the more time you spend focusing on the things you do have control of, the more you’ll feel peace and joy.
Spend more time envisioning and manifesting. Yup, this might sound a little woo woo but stick with me! Envisioning and manifesting is something that I’ve come to practice often, and admittedly, I used to think it was a lot-a-bit woo woo. Envisioning means picturing what you actually want to happen and really pulling yourself into the vision. How do you want your day, or this moment to go? How do you want to feel? What do you want to do? Envision and manifest what you want to happen and how you want to feel instead of cycling through the worries that are only making you feel scared, anxious, and upset. I know it sounds silly but I’ve had so much success with this tool.
And remember, it takes practicing healthy habits and making healthy decisions to reap the rewards! It’s not something that just happens overnight and with minimal effort. You are absolutely capable of living in the present moment!