Don’t Worry About Tomorrow, Make Progress Today
Updated December 15, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Avia James
Worry. Just the word itself can start to make our hearts race. It is something that every person has struggled with from time to time, some more than others. It's hard not to worry, especially when facing situations with an uncertain outcome. It is in our nature to want to know the answers and what to expect. When we don't have that, our minds start to worry. As much as we'd like to take the popular advice from Bobby McFerrin's song and, "Don't worry, be happy," it just doesn't feel that simple.
What Is Worry?
Since worry is something we all tend to do naturally, we don’t generally think about its exact definition. We know what it is because we experience it in our life. However, looking at the definition of a word can give you a new understanding of it and help you to see it in a new way. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines worry as, "to afflict with mental distress or agitation, to fuel or experience concern or anxiety."
Here is what it looks like in real life. Worry is what happens when you are facing a situation in which you don't know what to expect, or you do know what to expect and don’t like the projected outcome. Your mind starts to think through everything that could happen. You wonder “what about this?” or, “what about that?” You are not taking any action to make the situation different; you are simply thinking about it and rolling it over in your head again and again.
Author and speaker Joyce Meyer describes worrying like a rocking chair. She says when you worry you are constantly moving but are making no progress on getting anywhere, just like when you rock in a rocking chair. The chair is constantly in motion, but you are only staying in one place.
Why We Need To Stop Worrying
At some point in life, you have probably had someone tell you "don't worry." Well, this is great advice, but it does nothing to help us stop worrying. It's easy to say but hard to do. There are many reasons why we need to stop worrying as much as we do. Worrying is bad for both our mental and physical health.
Worrying has a negative impact on your body from head to toe. Worrying can cause you to experience muscle aches and pain. It can also increase your blood pressure, lower your libido, upset your stomach, and cause extreme fatigue. Your heart and lungs can also be affected by excessive worry.
Worrying can leave you with an overall sense of doom, may lead to panic or anxiety attacks, and lead to depression. These are all very serious physical and mental health side effects of worry. People who live with anxiety and depression can have a very hard time pulling out of it. It can lead to withdrawal from relationships, social anxiety, lower productivity, not taking care of yourself physically, among other things. Depression, anxiety, and persistent worry is something to be taken very seriously. If you are experiencing worry to the point of being depressed, stop right now and reach out to a professional at BetterHelp. You can get the help that you need to fight against depression without ever having to leave your home. Professional therapists are available to work with you through online sessions.
Even if you aren't experiencing depression, worrying is still something that is best to overcome rather than allowing it to overtake your life. Your life will improve drastically when you learn the strategy, "don't worry about tomorrow, focus on today."
Don't Worry About Tomorrow. Make Progress Today.
When you can learn how to stop worrying about tomorrow and start focusing on today, you can really get control of worry. While it's not an easy thing to do, it can drastically change your life. Here are some tips on how to start focusing on today, so you don't have to worry about tomorrow:
Some people are uncomfortable with the idea of mindfulness because they feel as though it is a religious practice, when in fact - it's not. Mindfulness meditation is simply an exercise that involves focusing your mind on something inside or outside of yourself.
Mindfulness takes many forms, but can involve simply closing your eyes, calming your mind, and focusing on the present moment. You may focus on your breathing, what your senses are experiencing, and what's happening around you at the moment. Mindfulness allows you to shut out the problems of the world and the things that have been weighing heavily on your mind. While doing this, you can begin to put thoughts into your mind and purposely choose what you are going to think about.
This is a good practice to use anytime you start to feel yourself becoming overcome by worry. It helps to lower your heart rate, settle your body, and refocus your mind.
As mentioned above, when we worry, we are not taking any action. We are simply thinking about a problem and rehearsing it in our minds over and over again. If you want to overcome worry, the best thing to do is to start taking actions in the present moment. Stop focusing on what the problem is and start thinking about possible solutions. When you have an idea of something that could improve the situation, start taking actions.
Worrying is simply focusing on the what-ifs of a situation, instead of doing that you need to in order to act on the things that you do know. If money is tight, then start looking for ways right now to either reduce your spending, increase your income, or find ways to negotiate with creditors that you owe money to. If you’re worried about a work or school presentation and not knowing your stuff, go over the information, rehearse it several times, and then utilize techniques (such as mindfulness, discussed above) to help prevent you from fixating too much on the situation. Finding solutions to your problems will help reduce the amount of worry that you have because you start to know more about the situation and feel more prepared to deal with it.
Acknowledge What You Are Feeling
Worry is often rooted in fear. You may be worried because you are afraid of the unknown or you are afraid of what the outcome of the situation will be. Therefore, it can be helpful to acknowledge the fear and what you are feeling instead of trying to cover it up.
Once you have acknowledged what you are afraid of, you can begin to reframe your beliefs around that fear. Many times, our worries are exaggerated. What we spend so much time worrying about often ends up not happening. So, it can be helpful to think about what it is you're afraid of and look at it in a new light. When you try to avoid thinking about it, you end up worrying about it even more and making your worry even bigger. Instead, confronting your worry head-on can diminish some of the power that it has over you.
Replace Your Thoughts
Many people are unaware that we have the ability to control our thoughts and perceptions. Our thoughts do not have to control us. While it may be typical for you to worry about a situation, you can stop yourself from thinking about it altogether. Therefore, instead of thinking of negative scenario, try to think about positive ones. We control the perspective that we choose to have on things; we choose whether to view things positively or negatively, and we choose how we respond to those perspectives.
The trick is to replace dysfunctional thoughts with functional ones. If you simply try to stop thinking about the things that you're worried about, it is likely that it will not work. If you were asked, for instance, to not think about a purple elephant, chances are that you’re suddenly going to have an image of a purple elephant in your head. But, if you were instructed to focus on a red fish, for instance, you're more likely to be thinking about that red fish instead of the purple elephant.
Although a simple example, try to put that practice into your life with other situations you are currently facing. Instead of worrying about forgetting the presentation that you're giving to a customer tomorrow, try focusing on practicing before your presentation and telling yourself something along the lines of, "I know the information that I'm going to share and I'm going to do a good job." Our words and thoughts are incredibly powerful, and we have the ability to choose what we say and think.
Don't Allow Anxiety To Control You
Don't worry about tomorrow. Don't allow your anxiety to control you. When you take action today, you will know that you are being proactive and doing something to control the situation. There is power in this.
How Online Therapy Can Help
If you are someone who struggles with being anxious about everything, then it's a good idea to talk to a professional who can help you. There is a much better way to live that will leave you much happier when you learn how to deal with your worry and anxiety. Imagine going day to day without being controlled by that overwhelming fear and worry that you experience. That life is possible. Talk to a therapist at BetterHelp today so you can be on the road for living that life. Don't worry about tomorrow, focus on making progress today.
Online therapy has been found to be just as effective as in-person therapy, and in fact studies have found it to be more effective when it comes to anxiety and depression. Even three months post-treatment, a University of Zurich study found 57% of online therapy clients no longer had depression compared to 42% of traditional in-person therapy clients.
Additionally, online therapy is incredibly convenient and accessible, able to be accessed anytime, anywhere – including the comfort of your own home. This is particularly beneficial to those who live in rural areas, have hectic schedules, or really just don’t like in-person therapy. Sessions are fully customizable and can be conducted via phone call, instant messaging/texting, video chat, live voice recording, or any combination thereof. Continue reading below for reviews of some of our licensed therapists, from people seeking help with anxiety and worry.
“Juli-Ann was an amazing counselor for me! She helped me in dealing with my insomnia, fear of failure, worrying, and also how to assert myself as well. She always responded in a timely manner and really knew what my needs were. She made me feel like and taught me how to live again. I'll always be incredibly grateful for talking to her!”
“Monje is by far my favorite therapist I’ve worked with. She has taught me many different and effective coping mechanisms for my anxiety. I felt comfortable with her right away and never felt judged. She is extremely patient, caring and kind. I highly recommend Monje!”
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