Worry is as useless as a handle on a snowball. ~ Mitzi Chandler
A few weeks ago, I joined my nephew to see The Guardian of the Galaxies 2. He and I have been watching adventure movies together for years, so it’s a tradition for us.
As you may know, the music in the Guardian movies plays a significant role in the plot. The newest movie included an old song by Cat Stevens called Father & Son.
Just in case you’ve never heard the song (or can’t recall the words), the song is a dialogue between a father and son. Pretty appropriately titled song, right?
The lyrics alter back and forth between the father and the son talking, each having their turn to present their side in an impassioned argument.
The dialogue goes something like this
FATHER: It’s not time to make a change, just relax and take it easy … You’re still young … there’s so much you have to go through.
SON: From the moment I could talk, I was ordered to listen … If they were right, I’d agree. But it’s them they know, not me.
The song came out in 1970, but I discovered it in my late teens. I remember loving this song so much … identifying with the son’s point of view and not being able to understand the father’s viewpoint at all. Today, while I empathize with the son’s passion and pain, I identify with the father more than the son.
Time often offers a massive perspective shift. What I saw at 17 is not what I see now in my 50s.
What does any of this have to do with worrying?
While aging three or four decades often offers you a new perspective, waiting that long is not necessary. You can always deliberately choose to seek a new perspective anytime you wish.
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Remember the scene from 1989’s Dead Poet’s Society when Professor John Keating, played by Robin Williams, stands up on his teacher’s desk and then one by one has each of his students do the same?
Keating says I stand upon my desk to remind myself that we must constantly look the things in a different way. The world looks very different from up here … Just when you think you know something, you have to look at it in another way, even though it may seem silly, or wrong, you must try.
Worriers get comfortable looking at their lives the same way day after day … year after year … sometimes even decade after decade.
Ditching your worry mindset is all about changing your perspective.
Worrying isn’t the real problem. Your perspective is; Change that, and your worry floats away.
God bless my mom, I loved her as much as any daughter could love a mother, but mom never shifted away from her worry perspective. In fact, if anything, she clung to it more tightly with each passing year.
We don’t have to look at the world through a worrier’s perspective if we don’t want to. I have a choice to change. You have a choice to change. Change will not come for any of us if we are determined to cling to the same thinking patterns while doing the same things we’ve always done.
Dumping the worry habit won’t happen by magic, it will happen by embracing a deep commitment to adopting a brighter, more hopeful perspective about our lives and the world. This will not feel normal or comfortable at first. In time, it can become our second nature.
I want to stop worrying so much. Where do I begin?
If you’re ready to move away from worry and towards a more peaceful, happier life, the first step is to make a decision that you want to change. Then, start tapping into the tools of replacing one habit with another, in this case, exchanging worry for peace of mind.
Here are six of the BEST tools that’ll help you break your worry habit:
1 Be the observer of your thoughts. Rather than engaging with every worrisome thought that pops into your head, recognize a thought as simply your monkey mind flipping through the channels for something that will intrigue you. Worry isn’t intriguing, so when it pops up, switch the channel to something more uplifting. (A great resource on this subject is Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now.)
2 Realize that worry is useless. Worry has no protective or preventative powers. It does not make you more focused on a subject or situation, only more agitated by it. Worry only hurts, it never helps.
3 Make the decision to live intentionally. Decide you want to live in joy and declare that intention boldly and often. When you’re clear about your intentions of how you want to live your life, you tend not to be distracted by the things that distract you from what matters most … in this case, keeping your peace. (A great resource on this subject is Wayne Dyer’s The Power of Intention.)
4 Affirm that you are strong enough to handle whatever comes your way. Start expecting good things to happen instead of always expecting the worst. Even if you don’t believe these thoughts at first, practicing positive affirmations will help you bring these positive expectations into your heart. (I’ve placed a few example affirmations at the end of this post, but if you want to dig deeper, a great resource on positive affirmations is Louise Hay’s Book, You Can Heal Your Life.)
5 Trust in the ultimate goodness of life. As Einstein once said, the most important decision you’ll ever make is deciding whether you believe the universe is friendly or unfriendly. Start believing life is on your side and is rigged in your favor.
6 Put your faith in a higher power. Put your faith in divine love and grace to support you … you don’t have to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders (nor should you!).
When you ditch your “worrier’s perspective,” miracles can unfold in your life. You will experience more joy … more peace … and far, far less stress and anxiety. It’s a great shift to make. The only question is, will you commit to shifting your perspective? I hope you do.
*Father & Son, written by Cat Stevens Yusuf Islam, Lyrics © BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC
A shift in perspective is all I need to move from worry to peace.
I enjoy switching things up in my life … as I seek new experiences and perspectives, an even more beautiful world unfolds for me.
I see the world from a perspective of gladness and joy, and thus, I experience a world filled with gladness and joy.
I release worrisome thoughts immediately and quickly embrace thoughts with the higher vibrations of joy, love, peace, and hope.
Worry Reduction Exercise – Change Your Perspective
Worriers get stuck in the same old patterns brought on by always seeing life from the same old perspective. Today’s exercise is about gaining a different perspective on your life by mixing things up in your life in a small yet noticeable way.
This exercise will serve as a reminder next time a worrisome thought pops up that you can shift your perspective and see your life in a new, more positive way.
So, how will you shift your perspective today? Change your routine in some small way. Well … not too small … make sure it’s big enough that you’ll notice the difference.
Here are some ideas:
- Park your car in a different location than you normally would park it (just don’t forget where you parked!).
- When in a meeting, or at church, or at a movie, if you normally sit on the left, sit on the right. If you normally sit in the back, sit in the front.
- Eating out? Go to a new place for dinner. Eating in? Try a new recipe using ingredients you don’t typically use.
- Take a different route to work or wherever you might be going.
- Sit in a different place in your home than you’d normally sit.
- Sleep on the opposite side of the bed.
- Brush your teeth with a different hand than what you typically use.
It doesn’t matter what you do to see or experience your world differently, just make sure you do something. Then, let the memory of that effort serve as a reminder for you when worrisome thoughts emerge that may be all you need is a switch in perspective.