Worrying is a waste of energy. Precious energy that can be better used to fill ourselves up and create a life that makes us happy. But what do you do when you feel like worrying is something that’s become out of your control?
The Dalai Lama said, “If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.”
Let’s define what I’m referring to when I say the word, “worry.”
Do you feel uneasy?
Are you overly concerned about what might happen?
Are you stressed about impending doom?
Are you ultra-sensitive to the environment and criticism from other people?
When you worry, your body has a stress response. First, it perceives a challenge. Then, it goes into what’s known as “fight or flight,” an automatic reaction that brings on a surge of adrenaline and makes you ready to, well… fight.
This response was used by our ancestors when they were faced with dangers like wild animals attacking. Today? It’s become a response easily triggered by everyday things such as a baby crying, traffic, a work deadline or a disagreement with a friend.
Our sympathetic nervous system releases stress hormones in these situations (like cortisol) that prepare the body for what it perceives to be a dangerous situation by maximizing energy and strength. (Also de-prioritizing less “essential” functions, like digestion. Hello stress diarrhea!) Other signs may include: trembling, twitching, heart racing, dizziness, fatigue, headaches and the inability to concentrate.
This used to be me when I lived in NYC. While I loved the opportunity, it made me crazy… with worry.
However, the following logic has since flipped my perspective and quite frankly, my entire life.
Realize You Are in Charge
While stress is the trigger, it’s not necessarily the problem. All of the symptoms above are simply responses to stress. They are dependent on how you handle the stress. How you respond to stress is up to you.
If You Don’t Have a Problem, There’s No Need to Worry
Sometimes we perceive there is a problem when there really is not. Give yourself a stress-free break! Realize that life is good right now, and actually enjoy it.
You Have a Problem, but There is a Solution
Stop worrying right this second! Instead, concentrate on the solution. Put your energy there. Make a plan and stick to it. Is there a job interview coming up? Of course that is going to cause some high stress… but if you use that stress to your advantage by researching the company and getting yourself as prepared as you possibly can, you’ll do better in the interview. Push through the feelings to find a solution and it will ultimately resolve the worry.
You Have a Problem, and There is No Solution
If you worry, you are sending energy to a black hole. You’ll never get it back. This is about acceptance — accept that this is your reality and then think of something better to put your energy towards. Take traffic for example: you are physically stuck, with no other option than to keep inching forward at a snail’s pace. But if you accept this reality and find something better to do with your time in the car, you’ll learn to relax and maybe even begin to enjoy your commute. Try finding podcasts to listen to that you’d never have the time to listen to at home!
This is wisdom. It takes time and will take many years of practice. But I can tell you from experience, it feels damn good to be able to calm myself down in situations of high stress, and release what I can… and I hope you, as well, will find some comfort in these tips.
Jess Baumgardner is a 10-year marketing vet turned women’s health coach and culinary nutrition instructor. She also is one of the founders of The GOOD Fest. She balances having two kids with a capsule wardrobe of all-black, and enjoys scouting out healthy baked goods on Fridays.
The GOOD Fest is the culmination of three wellness lovers and friends Jen Clark, Jess Baumgardner and Kate Van Horn. Their individual definitions of wellness differ, but they all have the same goal: to live their most vibrant, fullest lives. They’ve found that wellness is not one-size-fits-all, and today, they’re here to help you find the wellness path that works for you. They’ve dedicated their collective, extensive experience and credentials in the wellness world to create approachable wellness events that build community and unity. The GOOD Fest offers innovative and elevated experiences that give people the support, knowledge and tools to find their own vitality and be the best version of themselves.
The Fullest readers can enjoy $20 off tickets to the upcoming GOOD Fest in LA on February 3rd. Use code THEFULLEST to receive the discount at checkout.