I met a few of my old classmates recently. We all went for lunch and ordered plenty of food. Every one was happy and talking about how they were doing. I was enjoying myself thoroughly until someone asked me if I would like to raise a toast after the drinks arrived, in honour of a friend who had got engaged. My mouth moved of its own accord as I squeaked out an “Of course!”
I don’t drink alcohol and have never raised a toast to anyone in my life. In fact, public speaking has always been something I dread…but more on that later. I have seen toasts being raised in movies, and I know how its done, and I know I can do it, but a tiny voice in my head keeps dissuading me.
What if…I mess everything up? What if…I don’t do it right? What if…everyone thinks I’m a failure? What if…I lose my friends?
What if I could just stop thinking and enjoy the delicious dinner in front of me?
Seeing me look troubled, my close friend asked me if I was alright. I confided in her in hushed whispers, and she laughed. “So what if you mess up? Everyone messes up sometimes. You will always be our good friend no matter what. In fact if you do something stupid, everyone will loosen up and have fun.”
I grinned at her words, feeling much more confident. I savoured my cheesy pasta in peace, my anxiety finally giving me a break. When the drinks finally arrived, I stood up hastily, promptly knocking over the chair behind me. It landed on the stone floor with a loud crashing noise; everyone looked around at me, including people at the other tables; the waiter hurtled to set the chair straight.
I laughed nervously and said, “Well I guess that’s one way to get your attention. Glad it worked.”
I paused, everyone was staring at me.
“What if…” started the tiny voice in my head.
“Oh just shut up.” I thought strongly, and surprisingly it did. The second I stopped worrying, everything was okay.
“I would like to tell everyone of how lucky this handsome young man Fred, is to have got Sue to finally say yes.” I said to a heartening applause. “Sue is not easy to convince, considering how stubborn she was in school. It seems only yesterday she was telling me she would never get married, and here she is, getting ready to walk down the aisle.”
I spoke for a good three minutes after that and successfully completed the toast. When I sat back down, I understood how much simpler everything was if one stopped worrying.
I worry far too much. There, I said it. I’m probably the biggest worrier there ever was, and I don’t even have any kids yet.
I realise that my life does not pause for me to ponder and get stressed over what might happen. In fact every second I spend worrying and getting anxious, is actually taking away valuable moments of my life. I could be out enjoying myself with my loved ones, pursuing my hobby or learning a new skill.
There will be highs and lows in life, but you shouldn’t be thinking about possible lows when you are at your highest in life—it will only bring you down.
I know its difficult to stop worrying all at once, but by taking baby steps we can combat this endless anxiety.
Some helpful tips:
i) Always have a positive outlook. If you must think of What if…, think instead, What if…I do really well? What if my hard work pays off? It will surprise you how much this helps. A positive attitude cultivates hope and builds faith in one’s own self.
ii) Don’t worry about situations that have not yet occurred and probably will never occur.
iii) If its out of your control, don’t dwell on it. What if I don’t pass this test? If you’ve already given the exam and submitted your answers, then there is nothing you can do anymore. except forget about it and go have some ice cream.
iv) Exercise. A quick workout or playing a sport takes our mind off unnecessary things and prevents anxiety. Moreover, you feel happier and more positive after a workout.
v) Laugh as much as you can. It is incredible how much easier things are when you are happy. Try to look at the humorous side of things. If you are worried about not being able to pay the mortgage, think of how cool it would be if humans shifted to the moon. You’ll still have to pay the banks in the end, but at least you would have had a good laugh.
Here’s to you!