Sometimes, I am in awe of how a) smart we are as a species and b) outrageously silly. With all of the wisdom, knowledge, and experience that we have acquired and have at our literal fingertips, we still choose to use a tremendous amount of energy worrying about the future.
In reality, many aspects of our lives, the good and the bad, are out of our control. During the course of any given day, do you have to be concerned with getting your liver to filter all of the blood in your body? Do you need to understand how the internet works? Do you need to worry about how the sun comes up every morning? Obviously the answer is no to these and so many other things that are out of our control and benefit us every day!
Let’s also speak to the track record of our worries. Can you think of a specific time when worrying helped a situation or improved an outcome? I’m not saying that nothing you’ve ever worried about hasn’t come true; I’m simply asking: Has worrying ever helped?
Now, can you think of an example of a time when you worried about something that never even ended up happening? Can you think of instances when you worried more than a situation warranted? Also, guess what? Research indicates that up to 90% of the things that we worry about never come true! 90%!! So why do we continue to ruminate over outcomes that will highly likely never even occur?
And what of the physical effects of worrying? They range from insomnia, suppression of your immune system, high blood pressure, obesity, memory loss, digestive disorders, heart disease, and the list goes on and on. There are no physical or mental benefits to worrying. Not one.
The true kick in the proverbial pants is that we are some of the Universe’s creatures most capable of guiding our own reality. Nature does it in so many of its own ways: the oak is already inside the acorn, the chicken will emerge from the egg, etc. But what about us? How are we both like this and different from it?
Remember ~ Gardeners do not make roses. They create the environment where roses are most likely to bloom and thrive. You must do the same.
We can clearly see things that humans can create everywhere! Breakthroughs, inventions, and new ideas are bursting forth at a rate unprecedented in human history. We are continuously expanding our ideas of What Can Be.
There is evidence all around us of
Things, experiences, and circumstances created by humans
How many things can be out of our control
Yet so many of us still choose to live in the Land of Worry! Would cures for diseases be discovered if scientists focused on worrying about the problems rather than seeking solutions? Would planes have ever been built if the Wright brothers worried about how many things could possibly go wrong?
Back to you. Would you rather continue to default to worry, knowing that it does not help any situation and negatively affects your health and quality of life? Or would you rather learn new strategies to decrease worry and make faith your default perspective?
It has been proven that our minds can provide us with previews of coming attractions in our lives. If we worry that something will go wrong, we increase the likelihood that it will. Fortunately, on the flip side, if we envision and believe that things will go right, we also increase the likelihood of those outcomes.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the placebo effect. Time and again, in studies as varied as can be imagined, people respond to placebo effects. The placebo effect is a phenomenon where people report achieving desired results after taking a false treatment, called a placebo. Because the placebo can’t actually cure any condition or create outcomes on its own, any beneficial effects reported are purely a result of a person’s belief or expectation.
Begin to think of your thoughts and, most importantly, your beliefs, as your own personal placebo effects. Imagine that every day, you have the option to take a red pill or a green pill. The red pill sets you up for things to go wrong, and the green pill sets you up for things to go well. Which pill do you want to take when you’re thinking intentionally about both outcomes?
Train your mind to start taking the green pill. Every time your mind starts racing towards its default program of worrying about something, imagine yourself intentionally taking that red pill, one of worry and its many correlative outcomes. Then imagine yourself taking the green pill, one of faith as much as you are able to, lean into the feelings of ease and relief that the pill grants you.
Your brain will begin to rewire. We’ll continue talking about neural pathways and how to understand and train your brain so that more peace can reign, and I will continue to emphasize the incredible power of REPETITION. Many of us have been worrying about things for as long as we can remember, so on our own, it will take some time to shift our thoughts from fear to faith. Be patient with yourself as you are rewiring long-held systems.
Before long, you’ll be like a mighty oak who started out in that tiny acorn that doesn’t fear the storm before it arrives because it is rooted deeply. Move from being a silly human to a smart one as you learn to harness your thoughts so that worry becomes an infrequent passenger on the ride of your life.