How to Stop Worrying: Overcome Anxiety About The Future

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Every once in a while I’ll get a nervous feeling.

I’ll start thinking about the future.

My active imagination will create all kinds of crazy events happening, and whether I’ll be able to handle them or not.

Whether I’ll be able to provide for myself and those closest to me.

Whether I’ll go broke and live on the street.

What if (insert random tragedy) happens?

What if I fail?

These kind of thoughts are enough to make a person sit in their apartment with the curtains closed and never leave.

Think about this kind of stuff long enough and you will develop crippling anxiety, and even the smallest mishap in life will seem overwhelming.

Looking back over my journals, it’s never as bad as I imagine. You can really get creative with how bad things can/will be, but a worst case scenario has never occurred, all I did was lose sleep and stress myself out.

When the actual event/change came to pass…

Things were manageable.

Sometimes even laughable.

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Every time I have anxiety about the future, I do this exercise:

Step One: Turn off all electronics.

Close the laptop, put the phone on airplane mode, and tuck them away. The reason to do this, primarily, is to stop the distractions while you are completing the exercise.

Secondary reason is: Getting all that negative crap from the media off your brain.

You always see the most ridiculous kinds of horror-fiction on the news. Fear sells. If it’s violent, if it causes moral outrage, people will watch it, and reinforce themselves as good citizens, and feel good.

It’s a sort of moral high ground, which is why the news is so popular.

And a word on advertisements(which inevitably sneak in)…

The whole message of advertisements is: “You life is incomplete without (insert product here)”. To make you want to buy something, they must make you feel like you lack it.

If a true need arises, you would know exactly what you need, do the research yourself to find the best item, buy that specific item, and carry on with your life. Let the need arise first.

Ok, now that it’s just you and your thoughts

And you’re no longer bombarded with distractions, proceed to…

Step Two: Sit down with a plain notepad and a pen.

Find a comfortable place to sit and write. Preferably somewhere quiet, where you won’t be disturbed. This can be indoors or outdoors, it doesn’t matter. You can retreat to the basement, or walk a few blocks to a picnic table in the park.

Title the Page: “Reasons why I will be successful” or “Reasons why I’ll be Ok”

Now let’s get to work…

Step Three: List all your basic needs.

This is the basic and most immediate actionable level, and for most people the primary source of anxiety.

Start at the very base of the hierarchy of needs. Things like shelter, food, and water. List how long you will have those available, given no change in your current situation.

How long will you have somewhere to stay?

How long will you have enough to eat?

If things are looking bad…

…this is time to make a few phone calls. Talk to some people. The world is a small place and somebody might know somebody, who can help you out.

You’ll be surprised at the people willing to help if you are wiling to ask. Helping people feels good, so most people will do it.

Consider cutting down on everything that is a luxury, not a necessity.

Consider getting government aid, or borrowing money(for necessities only!). Work on finding employment, paying off your borrowed credit, and save up some money to cover a few months of expenses.

If things are looking good…

And the numbers are high, more than 3 months of living expenses, this is a huge reduction in anxiety for me. After all I have this window of 3 month to improve the situation, and figure out the next step.

Ok, If the immediate situation is not catastrophic, and you have some time you can coast, move on to the next step…

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Step Four: Look around

If you live in a city you will see many people walking about their business. Maybe you won’t see them walking, but you will see a rush of traffic on the roads. Time to compare.

Ask yourself: “If other people can have a good life, why can’t I?”

There’s no reason why you can’t.

If you’re willing to make the necessary changes.

If you live somewhere with money around, perfect. No need to move.

If the socioeconomic situation where you live is crap, and there is no room for growth, then move somewhere better, and begin again there.

If you can put aside 3 months of rent and food, you can probably move soon.

You can work a crappy job to begin with in, the thing is, if you are in a wealthy area, and keep an eye out for opportunities, some will eventually present themselves, and you can upgrade.

That won’t happen in a run-down slum.

When you are in a wealthy area, make sure your self-care is on point, look your best at all times. This does not have to be expensive.

Buy some pomade and make sure your hair looks good.

Whiten your teeth with some activated charcoal.

Look into a cheaper, but decent looking watch.

Invest in some good cologne.

Tip for introverts: Don’t wear your headphones when you’re around people. Especially if you are trying to network and improve your life.

Look like someone people want to be around, and the opportunities will come. Taking good care of yourself will do wonders for your anxiety as well. Feels good to know you took the time to look a little better today.

Now that you are in an area where success is possible…

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Step Five: Remove fear of success

If you are worried you won’t be successful, I have great news for you.

You will be successful.

Why?

Because if you are worried about being successful, it means that you expect yourself to be successful. You have the drive to want to be more and do more. That is the main thing you should have to begin with.

You won’t ever be content to stay down there at low level.

And that’s all you really need.

That, and time+effort.

Make the necessary changes.

Make a promise to yourself to strive.

To try to be a little better everyday, and the effort will add up. Doesn’t matter what it is at first. Something like making your bed every morning, consistently, will build discipline. Begin some self-study. Avoid all the common pitfalls. Don’t worry about keeping up with the Jones’s so you don’t get into debt.

Do physical training and remain healthy.

You’re gonna make it.

Don’t worry so much.

All the Best.

-A