There are all sorts of things to stress out about. Some of these are big issues like unexpected loss or big career struggles. But many of these are pretty minor. I’m talking about things like a parking ticket, someone cutting you off in traffic, or even experiencing unrequited love. It’s so easy to obsess over these things. Trust me, I’ve been there – a lot!
So today I want to talk about a few ways to not obsess over every failure or loss. I’m not a master on this topic. In fact, I’ve failed at it many times. But I’m kind of the master at keeping going. And what I know is that obsessing will make you feel like crappy and move you farther away from any meaningful answers.
So here are 5 ways to not obsess and find more peace starting today!
Put it in perspective
Think about whatever the problem might be. Will the side effects of what happened knock you down permanently? Take my husband as an example. He had some unexpected car repairs this month – like more than one major repair. Total bummer. And this is making him completely redo his budget.
But is this damage to his life permanent? Will he be living on the street, unable to recoup? It’s true that a major car repair can be disastrous in some living situations. But my husband is lucky enough not to be in that situation. Does it suck? Yes. Will he get through it? Also, yes.
My husband fights the good fight. And he will bounce back. Meaning 6 months from now, this will be a distant memory. And when that’s the case, it’s not worth your energy to obsess.This is a temporary problem. It sucks in the moment. But you’ll get through and most likely have a great life.
Choose to focus elsewhere
You always have a choice about where to place your mind’s focus. Unless your problem or mistake is catastrophic, your problem is only a part of your life. But when you obsess, you give it your full attention. Why would you let that become your full story when it’s only a part of your life?
We all have ideas of how we want our lives to go. And it’s so easy to get stuck on the parts that aren’t cooperating with our expected bigger picture. But when you obsess over a loss, you let go of your other successes. And if you don’t hold onto them, who will?
Here’s a fun task. When you’re obsessing over something that’s not going right, give yourself a mandatory 5 minutes happy obsession break. Force yourself to think of a time when things went really right and you felt super proud and happy with yourself. Just 5 minutes should help you start to shift your focus.
Let go of your revenge fantasy
But I know – your revenge fantasy feels so good! I get it! But it’s probably not going to happen. And playing out a revenge fantasy over and over in your mind is like a boomerang. All that negative energy doesn’t hurt anyone but you.
So mad at someone you want to sue them? Well, that’s the right choice if someone seriously injured you. But it’s not even worth it if your feelings are the only thing that are really hurt. According to Greene Broillet & Wheeler, LLP, every case involves an degree of uncertainty and a degree of risk. Why go through that if we’re talking small potatoes?
The reality is, you’re probably very unlikely to go through with your revenge fantasy. You just feel better thinking about it. But when you obsess in that negative direction, you help your own negative energy grow. Some people come into our lives as nothing more than life lessons. And after you put up with any kind of bull-crap, you’ll likely never make that specific mistake again.
Do calming things
You’re upset. Like really upset. I totally get it! As I said, I’ve been there. But when you obsess, you can let go of self-care. Which is never beneficial or healthy.
So bring things in your life that are calming. If you’re badly obsessing, you might need to do multiple calming activities. Play with your dog, take a bubble bath, watch a skit on Funny or Die, take a nap, and go for a walk in nature.
There are lots of calming options out there. Pick the ones that work best for you. And then actually do them! You might not want to. You might be like – I’m too angry or stressed to care right now. But do calming activities anyway. You’ll likely start to feel a little better.
Let go of destructive self-care activities
What is destructive self-care? These are things that you know are bad for you, but make you feel very temporarily better. These activities leave new problems in their tracks.
I’m talking about drinking a whole bottle of wine. Or pouring your sorrow into a dozen donuts. Or going home with someone you know you totally shouldn’t. Destructive self-care is so tempting in the moment. And when you’re feeling bad, you might not even care about the downside.
But I guarantee that these will result in something new to obsess about tomorrow. Which will leave you feeling angry and sad. And these can create a cycle of destruction that’s difficult to get out from under.
So those are 5 ways to stop obsessing about that which you can’t control. You know it doesn’t help. Now you have to decide if it’s worth it to see what’s on the others side of all this stress and worry.
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