There’s zero chance that everything will be perfect in our lives. Yet we worry about all sorts of things we can’t control. In fact, quite often it seems like we focus on worrying about the totally unimportant things. But how do you keep what’s important in mind? Here are some (hopefully) useful insights and book tips.
- What do you want to remember on your deathbed?
That broken vase? Those few pounds over your ideal weight? Probably not. What a waste of time to worry about that! For many years, Bronnie Ware, a palliative nurse from Australia, posed this question of conscience to the people she nursed through the last phase of their lives: “Do you have anything you regret, or would have done differently, in hindsight?” Many people were sorry that they had spent so much time on negative thoughts and behavior – time they could’ve put into the things that would have made them happy. The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, Bronnie Ware
- Fix it – or let it go
Imagine: you inadvertently sent off a rude e-mail, or your train was late. When things go wrong, ask yourself: can I fix it? If so, spring into action. In the first case, send another e-mail to explain that you hadn’t meant to be rude. Then you’ll rid yourself of the bad feeling right away. And if you can’t solve the problem, like a delayed train? Then there is no point in worrying about it. Let it go! Piekeren (Brooding), Ad Kerkhof
- Wait ’til the storm blows over
Our moods can often take us for a ride. If we’re in a bad mood, we focus only on our own or others’ shortcomings. Yet when we’re in a good mood, we meet the world head on, smiling. Remember that in a bad mood, the world looks much darker than it is. At those moments, you can only do one thing: wait patiently for the storm to blow over. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff, Richard Carlson
- Zoom out
Focusing intently on your problems makes every little obstacle assume enormous proportions. You can train yourself to do the opposite: don’t zoom in, zoom out – for as long as it takes you to get things into cosmic proportion, and you can turn that mountain into a molehill. Ancient Roman philosopher Marcus Aurelius advised this: “Many concerns are unnecessary. They’re no more than products of your own imagination. You can free yourself by taking broader strokes. Let your mind go over the entire cosmos and ponder the infinite paths of eternity.” Philosophy for Life and Other Dangerous Situations, Jules Evans
Text Otje van der Lelij Photography ©Chris Lawton/Unsplash