The other day I was talking with Maria, the woman behind the deli counter at my local grocery store. Over the years, our "Hello, how are you?" has turned into "Did you have a nice time visiting your friend over the weekend? Or "Did you decide where to go for your next vacation?" Our conversations meander around, and the length of our time together is based on how many customers are waiting to be served. On this day, there wasn't anyone around, and we dispensed with the pleasantries. Maria looked at me and said, "I have to tell you, I'm finding myself more happy with my life. It seems to be getting easier to go with the flow. I'm not stressed or anxious about tomorrow. I've become more appreciative of what I have and stopped worrying about what I don't have. Maybe it's my age, or I'm just now understanding what's really important. Either way, it feels like a weight has been lifted, and all is good." I told her it took me a long time to get to the place she's describing. I agree that stopping the endless emotional rollercoaster of what the future may hold is a relief.
I'm not going to pretend that I never worry about where destiny will take me, but I have a better handle on alleviating the fear of the unknown. I've incorporated a few tricks to flip the script in my mind, from the doom of the apocalypse to rainbows and butterflies in a matter of seconds.
- Call a Friend: This is one of my favorite ways to squash self-doubt. I confide in someone who knows me and will reassure me that I'm on the right path. Hearing encouraging words, having a good laugh, and voicing our concerns, gives us a much-needed boost that melts away our worries.
- Meditate: Placing our focus on our breath, with our eyes closed, and letting our mind and body relax, puts us in a state of contentment. We recognize only the moment; at that moment, we can fully appreciate all that we have.
- Take a Walk: Fresh air, sunshine, and communing with nature helps us get out of our heads and enjoy the day's possibilities. It's incredible how much lighter we feel when we can be at the beach or walk through a beautiful park.
- Dance: For me, dancing makes me smile, but if dancing isn't your thing, find an activity that makes you happy. We tend to put off this simple action because we convince ourselves we don't have time. If given a choice to let anxiety build up or find a release valve, go for the stress-reducing action. Your mind and body will thank you, as well as your co-workers and family.
Maria and I agree that most of our concerns and worries over the years were pretty much a waste of energy. Instead, the challenges we faced made us stronger and gave us a wealth of experience to draw from. We don't know what's around the corner, but we know we're not alone, and for that, we're very grateful.