Show Notes for this Episode:
Have you checked your worry meter lately? Worry can manifest itself in multiple ways such as feeling stress, anxiety, depression, and not sleeping well to name a few.
Currently, worry is at an all-time high as the U.S. continues to combat Covid-19 (Coronavirus) and a challenging economy. Sheltering in place at home and limiting outside social gatherings is having an impact on couples and family relationships. Also, many families are struggling to make ends meet. And did I mention it’s also an election year?
In this short coaching episode, I wanted to share some insights on how to worry less. Excessive worry takes a toll on your mental and physical health. If you’re not aware of how much you are worrying, you may be harming yourself without even realizing it.
The irony is, most of us worry about things we have no control over. What if you could just let go of these things and either not worry at all, or keep your worry to a minimum?
In conversations with my clients, many of them are worried and fearful about future events like the direction of the economy, stock and bond markets, the national debt, and taxes going up. All of these are events they have no control over. I reinforce with my clients to focus on what they can control: behaviors (how they react to news and events), spending, and saving.
If you find yourself worrying about your financial life during these uncertain times, check out this episode and article: 5 Take Charge Financial Strategies for Uncertain Times
Listen in to hear insights on how to worry less from a few of my trusted sources, including the late great Dale Carnegie.
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Welcome to the midlife money gal podcast. I'm Stephanie Sammons and experienced certified financial planner, guiding women professionals in midlife to, and through their retirement years. Worry is at an all-time high let's face it. There is a lot to worry about right now.
We're in the midst of a pandemic. We're in the midst of an economic crisis. We've got coronavirus. We've got worries about our own health and wellness and the health and wellness of those. We love those people, those friends and family that we care about. We have the death toll to worry about. What about job security, financial security. What about the future? What about the presidential election worrying about the outcome of that? What about kids going back to school or not? These are all some of the typical worries that I have personally in that I am hearing from friends, family, and even my own clients of my financial firm and all this worry takes a major toll on our mental health. It costs us time and energy and repetitive stress that comes from your own worry is just damaging to you in so many ways.
And to me, I'm a worrier. It's something I really have to pay attention to because I know this about myself. It's something I have to consciously try to manage. And sometimes I just don't manage it well, or I forget, and I get caught in a spiral or a trap of worry. It's easy to do. And so I have to really remind myself not to go down that road of worry. And you could just ask my wife and kids. I can stress out all the people closest to me with my worrying, but I do consider myself to be a wise warrior. I'm not a catastrophizer, I'm realistic in my proof of that is I took a quiz in an Oprah magazine that told me I am a wise warrior. So there you have it proof. So what can we do about worry? How can we minimize it?
I'm thinking that you are feeling a lot of anxiety right now as well. And you are probably worrying about many things happening around you and maybe on a level that you've never experienced before, because there is just so much to worry about. So if we're not careful about this, it can overtake us. It can cause a lot of stress and anxiety and take a toll on our mental health, our emotional health, our physical health, and even our spiritual health. So I want to help you become more aware of your worrying and be able to take a more proactive approach on how to minimize the worry that you have and keep it at Bay so that it doesn't take control. What I decided to do is pull from a few sources that I know like and trust and have learned from myself. And just give you a few little insights and tips to think about when you find yourself being preoccupied with worry, Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of a number of excellent books said, you are afraid of surrender because you don't want to lose control, but you never had control.
All you had was anxiety. Boom. We just don't have control over so many of the things happening around us right now. That's a big, big clue to conquering worry. Another person whose work I really have come to love. Her name is Amy Morin, M O R I N. She's the author of 13 things, mentally strong people don't do. And I highly recommend her book. It has been eyeopening for me. Um, she also has one for parents and one for women specifically. So here are a few tips that, that Amy shares that I really like, and that resonate with me. So wanted to share them with you. The first one she talks about is to smell the pizza and basically what she means by this is when you're feeling anxiety. And you're feeling that worry starts to occupy your brain. Pretend like you're smelling a piece of hot pizza right in front of you, right under your nose.
And you breathe in through your nose, take a deep breath, like you're smelling the pizza and then blow out like you're blowing on the piece of pizza and cooling it off. And if you do this a few times, you're able to calm yourself down and take some deep breaths and move yourself out of that anxious and stressed out place. Get yourself out of those feelings. Another thing Amy says is to identify some things that you're grateful for. And we know this, we hear this a lot, but I do really think it helps. Even if you don't feel like doing it. If before you go to bed at night, you think about three things that you are truly grateful for in the midst of all this negativity around you, this environment surrounding you, what are three things and they can be so simple in making that a practice consistently does have an impact on your mindset.
It can shift your mind to not worry so much about what you don't have any control over and be grateful for what you do have right now. Another tip I really love that Amy shares is scheduled time to worry. I have never ever thought about this, but I thought it was really interesting. She says, schedule 15 minutes a day to be your worry time. So you're just going to sit there and go through the laundry list of all the things you are currently worried about. And these are things I know for me, they enter my mind throughout the day. Thoughts are things and they just float in and out. And instead of that happening, if you dedicate 15 minutes to just worry, then you're getting it all out of your system. And you're getting all those thoughts down and out. So they're not going to haunt you all day and taught you all day.
So I really love that idea. And I've started to implement that. And then another point she says is to argue the opposite. If you are just catastrophizing and thinking the absolute worst, and you find yourself doing this a lot, try to argue the opposite with yourself of, well, what are some other alternatives to, or possible outcomes that could happen and walk through those with yourself. And that might put you more in the middle and where you have a more realistic course of thinking about things that are happening around you, or that could happen in the future, a more realistic outlook. So I thought that was really awesome as well. The third source I'm going to pull from is the late great Dale Carnegie and Dale Carnegie says, get all the facts about something. So you don't make up stories or make up your own conclusions or catastrophize.
So if you take that worry time, that 15 minutes that Amy suggests and you make a list on a piece of paper, of all of your worries, you can go through that list and figure out, okay, what can I control realistically? And what do I have? Absolutely no control over. And one of the things we have no control over is what other people do and what other people say. And I think that is causing a lot of tension and worry in our society today, but what can you actually control? And what can you not control? Whatever you can't control. You have to just let go of it. There's nothing you can do to influence the outcome. If you have no control over a situation. So why waste your time and effort and energy worrying about it? There's just no point to that. So Dale Carnegie says, get all the facts and sometimes you can't get all the facts. So you have to do your best and think through what you can control and what you can't control before you start going off on a worry tangent. And let me leave you with this reminder about worry, especially when it comes to worrying about your financial life. These are some of the worries. I hear my clients regurgitating from their friends or family members or the news, the headlines they see or listen to. Well, our taxes are going to go up in the future. What about interest rates? Interest rates are at an all time low.
What about the economic cycle? Where are we? We're in a recession. It's going to be doom and gloom for years and years, we're going to go into a depression and the outcome of the presidential election. It could be disastrous if it goes one way versus another, some of these things a decade ago, I would have never heard come out of my client's mouths. And they're getting this information from the news, from social media, from the things that they are reading and consuming. And that takes a toll on your mental health, because when those ideas enter your mind and you start thinking about them, you might start worrying about them and then you become preoccupied with the future. But here's the reality. The only thing you can control about your financial situation in your financial life is your behavior, which basically means how do you react to all of the things going on around you?
Do you react emotionally or do you act react logically about it? Well, we're emotional creatures, so we tend to get emotional. However, you can still have emotions and behave well and not make any drastic decisions that could harm your financial situation, for example. So let your emotions go crazy if you need to, but if you don't act on those emotions, that's what really matters. And that's what determines your future outcome. Whether it's going to be a good outcome or possibly a bad outcome, you can also control your spending. If you need to trim your expenses or downsize or something like that, you have control over that. You have complete control over your spending. And then lastly, you're saving. How much are you saving toward your financial goals? How much are you saving toward your retirement? That's really all you're able to control. When it comes to your financial life, you can't control the future tax rates. You can't control interest rates. You can't control the ebbs and flows of economic cycles, and you can vote for the presidential candidate that you want to win. You can vote for the people you want to serve your needs in office, but ultimately you alone cannot control the outcome of these things. So
There is no purpose in worrying yourself about all of these things that you can't control. So I hope these little tips will help you worry less and keep yourself calm and stay focused
On what matters and continue to be thankful for it
Or what you have this show is for informational and educational purposes only. Please do not consider it
Any of the content as personalized financial investment tax or legal advice.
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