“Every day brings a choice: to practice stress or to practice peace.” ~Joan Borysenko
I’ve always sped through life. I’ve always been ready to take on the next moment, that new place, make a new memory.
I’m an obsessive planner. I love control. Seriously, I love the feeling of researching and executing a plan flawlessly. It makes me feel like it’s all worth something, or it gives my life meaning. Nothing satisfies me more than being able to check that next “life goal” off the multiple checklists I create.
This idea of getting to the next place and achieving as much success as possible in minimal amounts of time has taken over my life.
I can’t tell you when it began. But I can tell you that this idea of getting to the next moment has consumed my life for at least the better half of ten years.
I have never truly experienced a lasting sense of peace. I have the minimal moments of pure, carefree relief, sometimes while showering, swimming, or working out But these moments fade and I’m back to feeling anxious about what to do next.
Even deciding what to make for breakfast sends my mind into a whirlwind of ifs and buts. What if I make this egg sandwich and then decided I wanted cereal instead? What if I drink too much water and where I’m headed for the day doesn’t have a lot of bathrooms?
Seriously, these are concerns I wake up with every day. I feel ridiculous just writing them down, and trust me, only a few people are truly aware of how bad my anxiety really is.
No, I’m not medicated. Maybe half of you think I should be after reading how outrageous my anxiety and obsessive need for control is.
But if you met me, you would never know these thoughts race through my mind almost every second of everyday.
People can appear happy go lucky, carefree, and spontaneous. But you never know what demons they are facing inside the confinement of their own thoughts and mind.
It’s easier said than done, but in order to truly defeat anxiety and this obsessive need for control, we need to surrender. Just let it be. Don’t give up. Don’t sit in your house sending out messages to the universe that you want more money, a better job, or a bigger house.
You need to wake up each day, do your best, and then accept that after you have done all you can, it’s up to the universe and not you to take on the rest.
If you take the time to be present, the universe will reward you.
1. Be fully involved in whatever you do.
Put all your thought into whatever minimal task you are doing this very moment. It will help to center yourself and keep negative and outrageous thoughts and scenarios from coming into your mind.
2. Stop trying to control everything.
It makes me cringe to say these words. But you are not in control. Honestly, we are not. We create this false sense of control, but it’s not reality. We can only be responsible for our own thoughts and actions, so why not make them good ones?
3. Look at the bigger picture.
Is any of this going to matter? Okay, so sometimes that deadline and that big test do matter, but when you’re running five minutes late, is it really life or death? Stop beating yourself up. There is so much more to life.
4. Be kind.
And I’m not just saying to other people; be kind to yourself. If I treated any of my friends the way I treated and talked to myself, they would be running for the hills. (To be honest, my closest friends have been trying to run for years and haven’t succeeded—and that, my friends, is true love. Just kidding.)
You can be your biggest critic or your biggest cheerleader. Always choose the cheerleader
Accept yourself, accept others, and accept that the only way we truly leave a footprint on this world is when we impact and change others’ lives for the better.
It’s easy to write these things down, and a heck of a lot harder to actually do any of them, but if we take the steps toward finding ourselves and surrendering to what we can’t change or control, I promise life will get a whole lot better.