When I consider the times in my life that I have been worried, stressed, upset or have high anxiety I realize often those negative feelings are emotional and based on fiction created in my head from fear, not fact. When we start to create stories in our heads of how things are and what can happen we intensify the fear and things can get out of hand leading to high stress and anxiety. Persistent feelings of stress and worry can lead to health issues, stress has been proven to be linked to six of the leading causes of death including suicide. This fast paced, high pressure environment can get to even the strongest individuals, so how do we keep it all in check? Well, we do a little fact checking of our emotions.
State the facts of a situation and then ask yourself if your feelings are valid. A little stress can be good to push us into positive action but constant stress is most definitely not good for us. If I read or watch something on the news and I feel the stress rising within me I stop and ask myself if it is rational to be getting stressed about something I cannot do anything about. When a friend of mine is dating a new guy and she hasn’t heard from him all day and she calls me to talk about all the reasons why I have to ask her if it is really beneficial to assume anything or better to just focus on the facts? We create schema’s in our lives and try to fit people and situations into them because we believe it makes it easier for us to cope, but it actually can make things worse. Not every guy you date is going to be a cheating asshole like the last guy you dated so stop assigning the behavior of the asshole to the amazing new guy in your life.
We overthink, analyze and then call a friend to overthink and analyze some more and it is often a waste of time because must of what we worry will happen never does. Try to be more self aware and when you feel this behavior taking hold call yourself out on it. Don’t allow your thoughts to take over. Thinking is not something you need to be doing all the time, our thought process is a tool to solve problems and guide us through our day. We have allowed ourselves to believe that constant thought is necessary, it has become so habitual that when everything is actually going pretty smooth your brain will start to create problems to keep the thought process going. This is the very reason why meditation and being mindful and fully present is so important in the path to finding peace, calm and happiness.
When we just become fully aware of what is going on in the present moment then we can focus in on the facts a little easier. Usually once the facts become clear we start to see that our minds create a lot of unnecessary crap that we can easily filter out when we get honest with ourselves. Humans have a tendency to focus on the worst and believe the worst about themselves and ignore all the good. As the Indigo Girls clearly stated in one of their greatest songs…”darkness has a hunger that’s insatiable and lightness has a call that’s hard to hear“… If you just focus on the facts the world will be a lot less dark and you will be a lot closer to fine, maybe even happy.
With love, health and happiness,