One book that has helped quell my worrying is Dale Carnegie's “How To Stop Worrying and Start Living,” and I would like to share these ways to stop worrying based on Dale Carnegie’s top tips. This book was published in 1948 and he wrote it because he was making himself sick with worry. Worrying is one of those things that can snowball out of control and I'm prone to donning my finery and having a dance on the worry float at the worry parade. This book, however, is filled with personal stories by people he knew and demonstrates the negative impact worrying can have on all our lives. It is full of some great tips that I refer to when the worry witch comes a knockin' (which is quite regularly!). Here are some of Dale Carnegie's ways to stop worrying and start living.
1. Live in "Day-tight Compartments"
This is one of the first ways to stop worrying and is one thing I sometimes struggle with. I often find myself thinking about the future and the past, and not only thinking about it but worrying about it. This is natural and we all have a tendency to worry about the yesterdays and tomorrows. Dale Carnegie refers to a quote by Thomas Carlyle which helped the famous physician William Osler overcome his worries: “Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what lies clearly at hand.” Obviously Dale Carnegie isn’t saying that we shouldn’t plan for the future, but what he does advise is that we should not look towards it with anxiety and not to let things which have happened in the past or things that may happen in the future hold us back. In other words, seize the day!
2. What's the Worst That Can Happen?
This is a great question and when you do pose it to yourself, it can help you realise that actually, the worst that could happen is probably pretty unlikely (within reason!). The idea is to analyse the situation and think about the worst possible scenario in the event of failure. When you reconcile yourself to accepting it you will immediately relax and it works! Fundamentally it's about putting things in perspective as when we are sometimes immersed in that whirl-pool of worry, we can think that everything is dark and gloomy.
3. Get All the Facts
The easiest thing to do when we're faced with a problem is to look at it...again...and again. The problem then begins to grow from a pimple to a full blown tumour which takes over your mind as you agonize over the problem rather than the solution. Here Carnegie talks about the importance of getting all the facts and weighing them up. Think about what the problem is, what the causes are, what the best possible solutions are and then what the best possible solution is. I used to work with someone who said, "Bring me solutions, not problems." He had a point. If we think about solutions rather than problems, we can become far more productive and less inclined to wallow in worry!
4. Keep Busy
Dale Carnegie suggests that one way to combat worry is by keeping busy so that in effect, we don't have time to fuss about the little things we may be worried about. He tells a heartbreaking story about a man who lost two of his children in a very short space of time and in the depths of despair, was asked by his surviving child to help him build a toy boat. The act of keeping busy helped him divert the attention from his worries and woes and he realised that he needed to fill his time with activities. Carnegie also gives Winston Churchill as an example of someone who kept himself busy and who when asked about his responsibilities during the war and whether he was worried, answered “I’m too busy. I have no time for worry.”
5. Cultivate a Mental Attitude to Bring Peace and Happiness into Your Life
Another great tip is to go through life with a positive mental attitude by filling your mind with good thoughts and never trying to get even with your enemies. He urges us to count our blessings rather than our troubles and to turn a negative into a positive. He also says we should try to create happiness for others, which is another brilliant tip that works.
6. Don't Worry about Criticism
Dale Carnegie urges the reader not to worry about criticism and I know it's something that we're all guilty of at some time or another. Some of us are more sensitive to criticism than others and I know that sometimes when the lights are off and I'm trying to drift off to sleep, I find myself thinking "what did she mean by that?" and I know I'm not alone. Carnegie, however, says that unjust criticism is often a disguised compliment and that you must do the best you can, be your own critic and just laugh it off!
This is a really important tip, as lack of rest can lead to anxiety and a whole range of other health issues to then worry about. Dale Carnegie says that better working habits will prevent this. For example, clear your desk of clutter and do things in order of their importance. Oh how I love a good list!
This book is great and I have it by my bedside to re-read whenever I feel the need. What types of things do you do when the worry cycle starts? Have you tried any of Dale Carnegie's tips for combating worry? I would love to hear your top tips too.
Source: How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie