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Putting Worries into Perspective

We all worry. The greatest problem with this is that much of the time we end up worrying about things that never happen or just really are not as “bad” as we think they will be. For this exercise, you will need a “worry notebook.” Make a list of things you are worried might happen in the upcoming week. Jot down the best- and worst-case scenarios in your notebook. Then, a week later, go back to your list and review it. Were any of your worries unfounded? Chances are you will discover that seldom, if ever, do the worst-case scenarios you imagined come true.

A variation of this activity is to list all of your expectations—both bad and good—for the week ahead. When you revisit the list a week later, make a note of how many of those things turned out the way you expected.

Doing this exercise from time to time helps us to see just how much time and energy we waste worrying about things that never materialize or don’t turn out the way we expect. We slowly start to realize that all this worrying saps our energy and strength, leaving us tired and unhappy! When we start to become aware, we are able to put our worries into perspective, reclaim our time and energy, and begin living in the present: happy and well.