How to Stop Worrying and Know that Everything Is Alright
When you’re not getting what you need in your relationship, you worry.
Are things ever going to get better? Or is this relationship a huge mistake?
Is your partner ever going to change, or is this problem, this pain you’re feeling now, going to be with you for the rest of your life?
You just want to know what’s going to happen so you can make the right decisions. But since you can’t control what he does, it’s hard to know what the future holds.
The whole thing can make you apprehensive.
I remember feeling that way almost every day for years.
My marriage still isn’t perfect, but I don’t feel anxious about it anymore.
1. I Learned to Stay in the Moment
You may think this is easier said than done, but I’m going to share with you exactly how I did it.
I confess that, in my anxiety, I wasn’t a pleasant person. Whenever I felt anxious, I would shriek at my husband and demand to know how he could let this happen and when he was ever going to take action.
Then, no matter what he said in response, I just rolled my eyes in disgust.
Not very dignified, I know.
But asking myself one powerful question has helped me avoid falling into a giant pit of Needless Emotional Turmoil more times than I can count.
When I feel so apprehensive I’m shaking, the question I ask myself is: “Am I okay right now?”
At first the answer was “Yes, but…,” followed by a list of all the terrible things that could happen in the future (especially if I continued to focus on them!).
But if I just stick to the facts for the moment, so far, the answer to that question has been “yes.” Every. Single. Time.
For example, one of the things that used to make me incredibly fretful was when my husband and I were down to our last $19.83 in the bank.
Then a $20 debit would come through, which meant we were overdrawn. Now we had an overdraft fee too. Argh!
Don’t you hate when that happens?
I felt a panic rising inside me as I anticipated running out of food or gas or eye cream and having no way to buy more. Ever!
But when I started asking myself “Am I okay right now?” my honest answer was always “yes.”
I wasn’t hungry or stranded on the way to work or in danger of getting premature wrinkles. I wasn’t suffering in any way except in anticipation of the future, which I imagined would be very, very bad.
But I was usually wrong about that.
The more evidence I gathered about how the things I was so worried about didn’t actually happen, the easier it got for me to stay in the moment where I was still breathing and everything was alright.
Eventually I had a long string of moments where I was totally alright.
I found that I could apply this question to anything I was anxious about–from wondering if my marriage would always feel lonely and lack affection to worrying about my parents’ health to stressing about a talk I was preparing.
I learned I could choose calm instead of being a victim of anxiety in my marriage–and every other situation too.
2. Drop and Do 10
Once I stopped panicking by focusing on my current circumstances, I sometimes found myself getting worked up all over again.
I would think, “Everything’s not okay! We’re overdrawn! It’s his fault for spending too much.”
And just like that, I was anxious again and asking myself endless questions about whether he would ever change or if I’d be better off without him.
I’m embarrassed to say I used to think that way, which seems strange because I don’t feel that way about him at all anymore.
Now it’s clear that he’s made my life richer in every way over the last 28 years.
This habit I’m about to tell you has a lot to do with why I feel that way.
Here it is: In addition to recognizing that I was totally fine in this moment, when I feel anxious I also drop and do ten–gratitudes, that is.
I’d focus those gratitudes on the very things I was most worried about in that moment, which, when we were overdrawn, was that I’d have to go without, forever.
Who wouldn’t be anxious with that line of thinking, right?
But then I started finding evidence of the opposite.
Okay, so maybe there was no money in the bank account. But I could find ten things that I did have and was grateful for.
I’d start with the basics: I had food in the fridge, gas in my car, clothes to wear, a house to live in and $46 in my purse.
I also had a car and a garage for that car, a gym membership, fancy eye cream and pretty new pajamas.
By the time I got to ten, I was starting to feel pretty well-off.
And plenty calm.
Chances are pretty good that you’ll be able to stop feeling anxious and take nice deep breaths when you ask yourself if you’re okay in the moment and then drop and do ten gratitudes too.