1. Stop worrying so much
Throughout our lives, worries seem to always be cropping up endlessly. Any idea, event or task that we need to do comes bundled with its own complimentary set of worries. Worrying that your meeting with the boss won’t pan out, that the gift you picked up for your friend won’t please them, that your new shirt actually looks really stupid no matter what the lady at the store said.
In reality, what do these thoughts actually accomplish for you? In a year, will you still be stressed about them?
Divide your worries into what is actionable and what isn’t. Then do the former and ignore the latter. Furthermore, focus specifically on what you can do now. You don’t live in the future, so stop stressing about trying to fix things that you can’t until a later time.
If you really cannot get future worries off your mind, write them down on your calendar (which conveniently every smartphone has) and tell yourself that you can worry about them once their day comes. Preparation is great, but there is a diminishing point of return for how much preparation will actually help you.
2. Clear out your backlog
Some of these stresses that you have put into your action list may be items that have been sitting there a while. It happens to everyone. Nobody really wants to book that dentist appointment.
The longer that you allow these things to sit in your mental to-do list though, the more guilt and stress you will feel about not doing them. Its these things that cause your mind to drift into thoughts of what you should be doing instead of what you actually are doing. Not only does it affect how stressed you are, but it affects how much you are able to pay attention to what is going on around you right now. For example; in appearance you’re out for lunch on Sunday with a friend, but actually you’re just thinking about all the things you’re supposed to be doing instead.
Make a list of your tasks, the ones that really need to be done. Then pick a task, pick a day, and just do it. The sooner the better.
Since the sooner you clear out your backlog, the more time you’ll be able to spend actually content to experience what you are currently doing. You will have less weighing on your mind, less thoughts of “Oh I really have to call my doctor later and set up an appointment”, and more thoughts of “Wow, this is a really great time I’m having right now!” (hopefully).
If you’re finding it difficult to start, clear out the most dreaded thing first. Seriously. You’ll clear it out and figure, “oh that wasn’t so bad” and then it will be smooth sailing from there for the rest of your tasks.
The less that you feel that you have to be doing, the more that you can feel that where you are presently is where you actually should be.
3. Curb your fear of missing out
Fear of missing out (FOMO) as it’s commonly termed, seems to be rampant in our society. With the advent of the information age, we are now more connected than ever before and have access to more information about the world around us than ever before. That’s great! However, seeing all the things that you’re missing out on maybe isn’t so great.
Browsing Facebook, for example, it’s a common pattern to see your old friends and acquaintances showing off how great their lives are. Travelling, going to events, having a fun time hanging out with some peers. All these things that you wish you could be doing. You might feel jealous even.
After a while, it starts to wear on you. You think, I want my life to be fun like that!
We spend so much time wishing that we could be doing something else, or wanting to be a part of something that isn’t what we are doing. Stressing about all the missed opportunities that are happening right now even, and here you are reading an article! You could be on a cruise you know!
Its important to accept that you can’t do everything. You can’t be two places at once. So, you need to decide which place is the one you’d most rather be.
What is truly meaningful to you? Which of all the travel destinations, hobbies or events is the one that brings you specifically the most value? This is not necessarily the same as which choice will give you the most Facebook likes. Sure, Greg’s latest post on Facebook got tons of comments and likes, but is that achievement really what you want to invest your time in?
Part of the reason that the fear of missing out is so scary is simply because we don’t have enough time. We only have so much time in our lives to see the world, to pursue the career and hobbies that most interest us, and to spend days with the ones that we love. Its exactly because we don’t have time that we need to prioritize what actually matters to us.
It’s why we need to realize that the time we spend living our lives needs to be grounded in the present. A life isn’t lived in thoughts or dreams or worries. It’s lived one second at a time, in the current moment.
And being in that moment is the only place that you can be.