How often do you think that your happiness depends on external factors saying if you had something you lack now or if something was a little different, you’d be happy. For example, I’d be happy if I didn’t have to wake up so early. Or I’d be happy if I didn’t have to work. Or I’d be happy if my salary was two times higher. Or I’d be happy if I had a loving husband. It seems that there’s always that “if”. Somehow such thoughts, rushing through life, competition, social standards for success, the necessity to make money to provide for our needs and needs of our families cause anxiety in many people in different countries.
Stop rushing for a moment and answer this question: How often do you feel genuinely happy? Can you remember the last time you were happy? It’s great if you do. But what if I tell you that you can feel happy more often? Here is how…
Anxiety or happiness: it’s YOUR choice
You may think that your happiness depends on other people, situations, circumstances, while in reality it’s your reaction that makes you feel either happy or anxious and miserable. As I mentioned in the article “Why Don’t People Like Me?” – Trick Your Mind Plays on You, all people are very different in terms of their mindset, so we all react to the same events in different ways.
What causes anxiety
The thing is that over the course of your life, your mind has learned to react to similar situations in a certain and similar way, so whenever such a situation occurs, it triggers that very reaction you’re used to. In most cases, your mind is feeding you illusions making the problem seem bigger than it actually is.
It’s difficult to unteach your mind to react that way as it has learned this reaction in order to protect you. Anxiety is a fight or flight reaction but the world has changed a lot and nowadays, in most situation anxiety does more harm than good. However, there’s still “good”. What is it? Anxiety shows you aspects of your life and parts of your mindset that require improvement.
How to deal with anxiety
Change your reaction to what triggers anxiety
If you often find yourself being anxious – try to change your reaction to what makes you anxious. Ask yourself, is it true or am I just overthinking? If your mind is used to creating negative scenarios, it’s difficult to persuade yourself that this negative scenario may not exist in reality, it’s just inside your head.
Always question your thoughts. Can your mind know what really is going on or what is going to happen? There’s a small chance that your mind has guessed right. But what about all those other possibilities that don’t even come to your mind because they are beyond your imagination? The truth is that your mind can’t predict things. Don’t let it draw negative pictures and make you feel anxious because of these non-existent scenarios.
Use the rule of “so what?” when dealing with anxiety
Whenever a problem arises and your mind has drawn the worst-case-scenario to make you feel as anxious as possible, ask yourself: “so what?” When your mind answers the first “so what?”, keep asking that question again and again and you’ll see that you have means to overcome any problem.
Think what you’ll do to solve the problem if the worst-case-scenario occurs. It’s easier to let go and move on if you have a plan B.
Live in the here-and-now
Overthinking makes us anxious and deprives us of happiness in the here-and-now even if the event we’re feeling anxious about is going to happen in the distant future. What’s the point of worrying about something you can’t change now? As I said in the article How to Solve Your 99 Problems with a Proactive Approach, do what you can now to solve the problem you’re worried about. If there’s nothing you can do now, do something that will help you solve the problem in the future. If there’s nothing you can do again, just live in the here-and-now, paying close attention to what you’re doing at the moment.
Here and now there are enough reasons for being happy. You can’t know what and how will happen in the future for you’re not God. Accept the thought that everything will happen the best way for you and even if your mind still can’t believe me, use the thought that has been helping me since college: “at least it won’t kill me.” An exam, a job interview, a tough talk, etc. won’t kill you. Stop worrying about such small things, they are not worth your health!
Be grateful for what you have
If you can read this article, you already have a lot: you have a device, Internet connection, and most importantly, you have access to information. Having access to information is something that distinguishes us from most past generations. My grandparents didn’t have the Internet, and my parents got access to it too late, at an age when they couldn’t use all this information to change their life. Access to information has helped me overcome social anxiety, panic attacks, and break down many barriers that existed in my mind, as well as learn that I can choose what my life will be like. Having access to information alone is a huge advantage. You can learn whatever you want, you can create, you can see how other people live. Don’t underestimate what you have.
Besides access to information, many of us have loving families, healthy relationships, some have good health, some have the desire and money to take care of their health, etc. Living in the 21st century is a privilege as other generations didn’t have even a half of what we have now.
Remember at least several things you can be grateful for and look at them from another angle. Of course people get used to good things easily. You need to learn to value every little thing. Don’t take what you have for granted. Remember that gratitude contributes to your happiness and also, it can change your life completely!
If you think that your life is a nightmare, chances are it’s just your high expectations and not the reality.
I know that life is hard for many of us but what’s the point in making it even harder with constant worries? Let the reality unfold without your control moreover that you have no power to control it anyway. If you’re a good person, then the Universe doesn’t want to screw you up. Sooner or later you’ll get what you deserve. Enjoy the peace of here-and-now, be grateful for what you have, and welcome positive changes into your life.
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