When you’ve raised your hopes only to be let down over and over again, it’s easy to become pessimistic and learn to expect the worst.
I was a pretty negative person a couple of years ago. Expecting the worst will save you disappointment when that worst outcome happens, so I always did that.
However, such a mindset led to endless worry and stress.
For example, if my dad were starting a new business, rather than thinking he would succeed, I would think, “Great. Here we go with more financial struggles.”
Assuming we had hard times coming created a weight of worry in my chest that made it difficult to focus on anything. I’d lose myself in movies to feel something else and not think about my life.
I’ve come a long way from being that person, but this last month, I accidentally became her again.
I’ve been feeling that same worry and those nerves. I can’t even take a nap without my heart beating fast and hard in my chest.
All I want to do is stay in bed.
I have to force myself to work, and at first, I thought it was because I didn’t love what I was doing anymore, which only added to the stress.
If I wasn’t a writer, then what would I be?
It wasn’t until last night when I was journaling about everything I was feeling, that I realized why I’m so stressed.
Knowing my why let me figure out what I have to do to get back on track. I know putting these simple practices into action will work because they’re what I did before.
1. Be positive
I’ve been stressing about making money, or rather not making money, because Christmas is next month, and at this rate, I can only buy, like, two cheap gifts.
I had a goal to make $1,000 this month, but I’ve only made $60 so far. Already, I’m pissed about the outcome as if the end of the month is here.
I forgot my own motto: You never know what’s going to happen.
Rather than expecting the worst, I have to be positive and expect the best. For all I know, an article I write tomorrow could blow up and earn $100.
To expect the worst before the deadline is not only pointless but dumb.
2. Focus on what you have
What you think, you attract. If I continue to focus on my lack of money, I’ll continue to attract low earnings and no jobs.
As I said, since I’ve been disappointed about how little money I’m making on Medium this month, then I will continue to draw such disappointments.
Let’s say you were in the same boat. You have to focus on what you do have because what you focus on is what you will receive.
Rather than complaining about you not having any money, shift your attention to the money you do have and what’s coming, no matter how small the amount.
3. Pay attention to your thoughts
Paying attention to what goes through your head is a challenge in the beginning, but after practice, the process becomes more manageable.
To start, set three to five alarms throughout the day. Every time one rings, ask yourself what you were thinking.
If you realize it was a negative thought, then flip it and turn it positive. If it was a positive thought, great job. Keep that up.
I’ve been letting my thoughts control me, but it’s time I start becoming aware of them again, so I stop them before they make me crawl into bed.
You might feel like a fraud when you try to be positive when you feel so shitty, but eventually, that fake feeling fades.
4. Write down your goals and affirmations
If you write down your goals every morning, it will remind you of what you’re aiming toward.
You’re forcing your attention on what you hope to achieve, and envisioning yourself reaching them never fails to motivate you.
You can also write affirmations. In this case, this is what I repeat to myself throughout the day — especially when I feel my thoughts going down that dark hole:
“You never know what’s going to happen. You are strong, and you can do this. You are capable of reaching your goals. Find the good.”
We have to beat the worry. This one’s going to be hard because when you feel like crap, the last thing you want to do is work.
You’ll want to lose yourself in a Netflix series or a book because your reality is too stressful. You have to fight that with everything in you.
Work, write, paint, do whatever your thing is, and focus on it with everything you got. Work through your nerves until you’ve found your flow and your reality becomes a blur.
Think of it as a more productive escape, and when you’re done, then take your long-ass nap. You deserve it.