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SOMETIMES YOU JUST HAVE TO DO SOMETHING
Adapted from the works of Susan Jeffers, Ph.D.
Doesn't it feel like we are hardwired to worry? Do you sometimes feel that it's the only way our brains work? Yet we know that neither is true. When anxiety and worry begins to take over our thinking, we need to train ourselves to step away from it, to get outside of ourselves, and open ourselves to other possibilities.
We worry about work, about money, about our families, about our health. Some of us probably even worry about far-off conflicts or things that are statistically not likely to happen. Even though we know we are doing the best we can, we still feel like we should do more. We fret and agonize over things we can’t control, which only leads down the path to hopelessness and inertia. As Susan wrote:
If you believe that a situation in your life is hopeless,
you simply sit back and let yourself be destroyed.
You know how it is to wait around for a phone call or email? It seems like the time stretches out and goes slower. Yet if we do something else while waiting - such as watching a movie, working on a project, or just going for a walk - the time flies by, and a lot more pleasantly.
You shouldn't allow yourself to sit back and be destroyed. You should step away. Do something else. Perspective can make a world of difference in our thinking. Even if it is just shutting your eyes, taking a deep breath, and saying an affirmation during a tense meeting. When you open your eyes again, things will look different. You can gain some quick perspective by taking a walk, meditating, or listening to audios of affirmations (Susan's favorite!). Any activity that allows your mind some silent reflection can be a huge boost to controlling the Chatterbox. Seek out the quiet spaces in your mind and learn to cultivate them.
For long-term eradication of our anxiety, try volunteering, taking a class, or travelling. When we get out in the world and see how other people live, we realize that the world is a much larger place than our own small space in it.
Susan wrote in End the Struggle and Dance With Life about a transformative experience she had on a trip to Spain shortly after her first marriage ended. She was visiting the Alhambra in Granada, when she had a deeply spiritual and perception-changing experience. During that realization, Susan felt that, ''All my personal problems relating to money, love, children, career, taxes and the state of the world seemed like insignificant specks in a world that was so HUGELY more.''
When we let anxiety wash over us or when we let our inner Chatterbox loose, we make our own worries much bigger than they really are. Similarly, when we are caught up in worrying about things that we can't control, we are deadening our spirits and letting our place in the world close in on us. We are allowing anxiety and worry to frame the way we are living. But, we can choose to go a different route.
One of Susan's favorite sayings was ''Say YES to the Universe.'' When we are worrying or anxious, we are definitely telling the Universe No. Saying YES means, ''Channeling resources to find constructive, healthy ways to deal with adverse situations. It means acting out of strength, not weakness. It means having the flexibility necessary to survey many options and choose ones that enhance growth. It means becoming alive to possibility.''
And how does Susan advise us as to the best way to open ourselves to possibility? Her suggestion is simple: Get out there and do something!
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