“Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff.” — Richard Carlson
We all have problems in life. Instead of trying to lessen the magnitude of our problems, we often focus, complicate, and worry about our problems to the extent that we feel paralyzed by them as they continue to mutate and grow. Isn’t it time that we have control over our problems, and deal with them in a way that best serves us? Let’s take a look at how to keep negativity in check, and have better control over our problems.
First, what benevolent purpose does worrying serve? Rather than serving us, worrying tends to make us stressed, distracted, and limits our creativity and talent while increasing the risk of error. While we may attribute worrying to tasks and events we care about, worrying and caring don’t have to be dependent on each other. Instead, we can focus on the task at hand, and give it our all. When your worries begin to creep in, remind yourself that you are doing the best you can do. If you are doing the best you can do, what else is there? Easier said than done, but over time note how you feel and why you worry. Note these moments for the purpose of insight, then let them go.
Be in the present
Another useful skill is to remain in the present. Mindfulness seems to find it’s way into a lot of personal development material lately, but with good reason. In regards to negativity, we often visit problems from our past or predict problems from the future. You can’t have control over the situation in either time period, and that’s how many problems bloom. To gain control, focus on the present. As painful as it may be, we can’t change the past. Life is so fragile and we are not guaranteed a future. It’s important to plan for the future, but don’t let your problems grow there. Instead, plan and set goals to improve in the future. Use the present moment to put those plans into place and take the necessary steps to success.
Stop the ‘What if’
Our mind can be great at creating creative thoughts, but it is not the best at censoring the creativity when we are thinking negative thoughts. Sometimes, our creativity helps us think of solutions to our problems and pulls us out of the negative mindset. Other times, it may be generating a multitude of ‘what if’ questions. These questions create many possible scenarios of a situation and having all these possibilities just tends to cause us anxiety and see the problem as even bigger. Remember that there are countless ‘what if’ possibilities. For example, if you are worried about an upcoming work meeting you can say, ‘What if an elephant breaks through the ceiling and ruins the entire meeting?!’ By coming up with an obviously ridiculous ‘what if’ situation, we can remind ourselves that often times ‘what if’ situation are just ridiculous scenarios that will not happen.
Let your mind help you
A lot of problems seem big because our mind lets them get big and gives them food to feed on. Problems have the power that you allow them to have. By remaining calm, being optimistic, and focusing on the task at hand, you can effectively work through the situation and reach a solution. Remember that everything, good and bad, passes. This too shall pass. Give your mind a break and do something that will recharge you, like taking a walk. When you come back, your mind is refreshed and ready to think. The results may surprise you.
Look at the bigger picture
When we are working through a problem, it’s easy to get absorbed by it and let it distort your views and perception. Talk to a friend about the problem to get a fresh perspective and see the bigger picture. When we remember the bigger picture, our problems are often not as big as they appear. For more information, click here.
Problems are a nuisance, but they don’t have to grow on us. By keeping them in check, we can contain them and stop them before they get out of hand. Not only does this help us live happier and healthier lives that we can fully enjoy, but it also helps us push negativity aside as we walk our successful steps.
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