I have a good life – a great life, really. I experience the normal ups and downs, but in general, I am happy and healthy. My husband and I have had some great changes in our lives lately, and even my family and friends seem to be in good places. Thank goodness!
But, here’s the kicker: I keep waiting for something bad to happen. I am expecting it. I am just sure that things can’t possibly stay this way. Everything is going so well, surely something will soon go horribly awry, right?
Why, when we are in a good place in our lives – rather than reveling in it, absorbing it, and breathing it in – do we start thinking about the “what if’s”?
What if my health doesn’t hold? What if the economy gets worse? What if this wonderful roll we are on doesn’t last? The list goes on. In the negative thought patterns we run through, there is no room to enjoy the positives.
Seven Years of Worry
A friend recently told me that when her cat turned 11-years-old, she began to fret that the cat would die soon. She worried when she went out of town; worried if the cat didn’t eat; worried if the cat slept too much.
She constantly thought about how it would feel to lose her beloved friend and how devastated she would be. She was miserable and had a constant feeling of dread.
And guess what? It happened. But not when my friend thought it would. It came true seven years later. Seven years! For seven years the poor woman had been worrying about her cat dying.
All that time wasted in worrying about something that took seven years to arrive. Instead of enjoying every moment with her furry friend, she ruined it by worrying about what might happen.
There are always going to be moments of joy and moments of sorrow in our lives. We really jinx ourselves when we refuse to bask in the good times while we wait for the bad ones to come.
The tough times will come. They always do. You can’t stop the pattern because life is a series of ups and down. But why spend any period missing out on the happy times, worrying about the potential bad ones? Let’s just deal with it when it gets here and have fun in the meantime.
We Don’t Always Get It Right
Practicing techniques of gratitude and mindfulness can help us to change our mindset. Over time, it actually gets easier and more natural. I am still working on that.
Some days I still find myself obsessing over things that haven’t happened yet. Other days I do better and manage to avoid those crises of my own creation.
Yesterday, we had a little glitch in our business planning. My first reaction was to panic even though I didn’t have all the details yet. I could have gotten worked up… really worked up.
In the past, I would have made a big deal out of something that might happen. I probably would have cried, yelled, stressed myself out. This time, instead of panicking, I decided to stop, breathe and wait till I had all of the details.
I focused on what needed to be handled in the moment and kept myself busy. Luckily, it turned out that the situation actually wasn’t what I’d thought it was. Not even in the slightest.
If I had gone down that rabbit hole, I would have wasted valuable time and energy, and quite honestly – just plain overreacted.
Am I successful every time? Of course not. But today, I am committing to smile, laugh, and enjoy life even though tomorrow might bring a loss or a crisis. We can’t stop what’s coming but we can certainly enjoy what is in front of us now.
Do you worry about the future? Does your mind tend to wander toward negative thoughts? What do you do to switch your thoughts to something positive? Please join the conversation below.