If there’s just one thing we’ve learned last year, it’s that life is too short to spend it worrying about all the little things. Yet that’s all we seem to do lately. Read on for why we need to truly stop sweating the small stuff, and tips on how to do just that.
Life Is Too Short to Worry About the Little Things
I came across a quote on Facebook that said, “Life is too short to worry about stupid things. Have fun. Fall in love. Regret nothing and don’t let people bring you down.” It really struck a chord, because as I said above, last year really drove home the “life is too short” message.
You would think that with such a hard lesson, we’d all be way past “sweating the small stuff,” right? After all, we had so many BIG things to worry about. Monumental “change the face of history” things. Things like gossipy relatives, social media spats, and other trivial matters seem like nothing compared to death, disease, and political upheaval. So why, then, did we seem to spend MORE time worrying about the little things in the face of so much catastrophe?
The answer lies within the question…
Honestly, I think the answer lies in the question. We were already SO keyed up, so on edge and deep in our pit of worrying despair that every single little thing became monumental and catastrophic within itself.
I remember a few months into last year, a friend shared a story about a trip to the grocery store. Up until that moment, she was holding it together pretty well, she said. She coped with new restrictions, masks, even the constant sense of dread that she wasn’t being careful enough. Then she lost it in the ice-cream aisle, all because they were out of Rocky Road.
“It was so embarrassing,” she said. “Here we were, in the middle of a freaking global crisis, and I was crying because I wanted Rocky Road and they didn’t have any.” Of course, it wasn’t really about the ice cream, and thankfully people around her realized that. Otherwise, she would have become another “woman throws tantrum in a grocery store” viral sensation (when did we get SO mean, filming other people’s pain for our entertainment???).
We sweat the small stuff because the big stuff is too overwhelming.
I really think that we “sweat the small stuff” because the big things are just too overwhelming. When the world has gone topsy-turvy the way it did last year, we feel an incredible sense of powerlessness. Yes, each of us could do our part to spread peace and enact change, but in the grand scheme of things, we were not in control.
The thing is, we were worried. Like, “paralyzed with fear” worried. All of that worry needed an outlet, so we started freaking out about toilet paper, Tiger Kings, and our kids’ cyber school test scores. Anything to keep our minds off of what was truly scaring us.
It’s a normal and natural reaction to stress. We did what we had to do to survive, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Now, though, it’s time to stop. Life is too short to keep worrying about trivial things the way we have been.
How can we do that, though? How do we just let go of all those little things we’ve been worrying about and move forward? I talked to a friend with anxiety disorder about what she does, and she gave me one tip that works wonders for her. Ready to hear it?
Ask yourself these two simple questions to stop worry in its tracks
Of all the things my friend has tried, she found that asking herself these two really simple questions saves her from 99% of her worries.
The first one: Will this REALLY affect my life?
Here’s an example: my friend posted something on Facebook, and another friend gave a rather controversial opinion. Other friends replied to her, and an argument ensued. My friend was really worried about what everyone involved would think of her. Would they be mad at her? Would they be mad at each other?
She started to spin out of control, panicking about what to do and what to say to diffuse the situation. Then she asked herself that question. Does this REALLY affect my life? No, it doesn’t. She could turn off Facebook, walk away, and still live her life exactly as she would have before the argument started.
The second question: Is this something I can control?
You can’t control what your friends do or say on Facebook. Nor can you control how much toilet paper the grocery store stocks, what someone says behind your back, how fast the guy in front of you is driving, who your sister dates, or whether your favorite show will be canceled or renewed. So it doesn’t really make sense to worry about those things.
For the things you can control, worrying takes away from time you could be spending actively doing something about it. So, instead of turning your stomach into knots freaking out about it, come up with a plan. When that feeling of dread seeps back in, remind yourself that you’re tackling it and move on.
Life is way too short, my friends, to spend it constantly worrying about every little thing. Focus on the things that matter and that you can actually change. Let the rest go. Use all that time you free up to have fun, fall in love, take adventures, make memories with your family, and just really live.