I was laying with my son one evening, while he was trying to fall asleep.
I couldn’t stop thinking about the latest national news story that seemed to be evidence for my brain that we live in a scary world.
As I was looking at my drowsy, almost asleep, peaceful child, I couldn’t stop my brain from feeding me stories about how horrible and scary the world is. In that moment, I felt so helpless about the future of my child.
My mind carried me away from laying with my peaceful child into a place of doom and gloom.
After my child fell asleep, I left his bedroom and headed to bed myself. I was feeling anxious because of all the thoughts that were going through my head.
I tossed and turned and tried to stop worrying. My exhaustion eventually won, but it wasn’t a peaceful sleep.
Not only did my worrying prohibit me from being present while laying with my son, it also robbed me of sleep.
Does this sound familiar? If so, keep reading to learn what you can do to worry less so you can enjoy life more.
How To Stop Worrying About The Future
If you find yourself spending time in worry and fear about the future, I want to share with you what you can do to keep your worry under control so it doesn’t rob you of sleep, and precious moments with your child.
Worry is a natural state of being for our minds. Our brain likes to know what is happening next, and it likes to be able to make meaning of things.
(This is the reason that routines are so great for managing anxiety and overwhelm. Check out The Beginner’s Guide to Family Routines.)
Back in the day, worry was completely necessary for us to stay alive. We needed to be on the lookout for danger, at any turn, that could kill us.
We’ve evolved over time, but our brains have not kept up with evolution. We live in a much safer world, but our brains still think it’s necessary to worry.
You may not be able to stop your brain from throwing out worst case scenarios, but you CAN be intentional with how you handle those thoughts.
Use These Ideas to Stop Worrying About The Future
In order to loosen up your worry, instill the following concepts in your life.
You CANNOT control the future.
The only thing you have control over is yourself. Even a young child has freedom of their words and actions. None of us truly know what will happen from one minute to the next. There are too many external factors outside of our control. Remind yourself frequently that you can only control yourself.
Life is made up of equally good and bad things.
This is called the 50/50 of life. You are a human being and we live among other human beings making choices every day that are out of your control (these are the external factors I mentioned above). Therefore, good things and bad things happen in the world – always. This concept may seem to cause more anxiety, but the truth is, you’re worry and anxiety comes from resisting this truth.
(You can learn more about the 50/50 concept here, and how it has immensely helped me to put my worry aside and stay present with my kids).
The worst thing that can happen is an emotion.
Even if the worst case scenario plays out, the pain that you are worried about comes from an emotion. Emotions don’t kill us. But we spend a lot of time avoiding them and thinking they will.
Be intentional with feeding your brain a positive story about the future.
Since our brains are wired to keep us safe and think about the negative things that could put us in danger, you need to be intentional with thinking about positive possibilities for the future. I’ll be honest, out of all of these concepts, I find this the hardest to implement! My brain likes to get stuck in the negative sometimes. So here’s some questions that can help:
- What is the complete opposite that could happen?
- How can I tell this story in a positive light?
- What is something amazing that my child could grow up and do?
- What’s so great about growing up in this time of history?
Also, spending a few minutes with a piece of paper writing down the positive possibilities of the future is more effective on the brain then just thinking about it.
Reducing Worry Creates More Connection With Your Kids
Now let’s revisit the story I shared in the beginning. My fear about the future was disrupting my ability to stay present with my child, and interfering with my sleep.
Once I started studying and practicing the concepts I mentioned above, I was much more aware of when my worry showed up.
With this awareness, I could choose how I wanted to handle the worry. Time and time again, I go back to the thought, “I cannot control the future so I just need to be present right now.” This thought and the 50/50 concept have had the biggest impact on lessening my worry and anxiety.
I now believe that being present with my kids without worry is a better gift to give then rehashing “worst case scenarios” in my mind.
The future is always unknown, so worrying about it takes away precious mind energy that could be directed towards creating a wonderful relationship with your kids.
I want to encourage you to try out these concepts in your daily life. If you want to go deeper with this work, journaling is a great way to solidify the ideas and transform your mindset.
What have you found most helpful about this post? What will you start doing today to stop worrying so much about the future? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.
Take This Work Further
To take this work to a deeper level, download “6 Steps To Go From An Angry To Happy And Confident Mom” below: