Don’t Worry About Tomorrow, Make Progress Today
Updated February 16, 2020
Medically Reviewed By: Avia James
Worry. Just the word itself can start to make our hearts race and cause panic to set in. 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 know what to expect. When we don't have that, our minds start to worry. It's hard not to. And, 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, it's something we don't usually think about the definition of. 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 big situation, and you don't know what to expect. Your mind starts to think through every possible outcome 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 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 suffer from me 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, cause panic attacks, and lead to depression. These are all very serious physical and mental health side effects of worry. People that suffer from anxiety and depression can have a very hard time pulling out of it. It can lead to withdrawing from relationships, social anxiety, lower productivity, not taking care of yourself physically, and potentially suicide. Depression is something to be taken very seriously. If you are suffering from 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 suffering from depression worrying is still something that you need to overcome. 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 is simply closing your eyes, calming your mind, and focusing on the present moment. You focus on your breathing, what your senses are experiencing, and what's happening around you at the moment. You 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. Finding solutions to your problems will help reduce the amount of worry that you have because you start to know more about the situation.
Acknowledge What You Are Feeling
Worry is often rooted in fear. You are 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 end 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 and making your worry even bigger. Instead, confronting your worry head-on can diminish some of the power worry has over you.
Replace Your Thoughts
Many people are unaware that we have the ability to control our thoughts. 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.
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 - purple elephant will be the only thing you'll be picturing in your head. But, if you were instructed to focus on a redfish, for instance, you're more than likely to be thinking about that redfish instead of the purple elephant.
While that example may seem silly to you, 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.
If you are someone who struggles with being anxious about everything, then it's a good idea to talk to a professional that 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 Better Health today so you can be on the road for living that life. Don't worry about tomorrow, focus on making progress today.