Blogging, Life, Self Help, Writing

How to Worry Less and Wonder More

This year, I picked a few words instead of resolutions, though I do have a strong urge to work up a list of 24 in 24 inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s post on Facebook. My words are cheerfulness, consistencycourage, and curiosity. To adopt cheerfulness as well as to cultivate curiosity, I need to learn to worry less (usually good at it but not sure about this lately) and learn to wonder more about the world around us!

So today, I look at what works(ed) for me in the past, and what I think is sure to help me work towards these goals: worry less and wonder more.

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How to Worry Less and Wonder More

Life can get challenging, is challenging in fact. And when faced with the umpteen demands of everyday, we can veer towards worrying more and losing our ability to try out new things, or even do familiar things. In addition, worrying impacts our health.

While some amount of worrying is good (or rather, there is good worrying and bad worrying), just like anything else, too much of worrying is always bad. And it impacts our lives in myriad ways, from preventing enjoying the little joys of daily life to the big moments, and from learning and being curious and calm and confident and cheerful and etc.

So here are a few pointers on how we can worry less, and therefore work towards a more ‘wonder-full’ life, a life where we wonder more at and about things known and unknown!

Focus on the Present Moment

Train your mind to focus on the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. I read a quote years ago the gist of which was to avoid/minimize guilt/regret (the past) and worry (the future), and unconsciously have been using it as much as I can in my life. For, like the cliched phrase goes, ‘What we have is now, the present.’

Accept the Now and What You Can Control

So accept that now, as it is, regardless of everything that comes with it. Acceptance makes it all better, and help reduce those unnecessary worries. And we might actually realize that it is not something we need to worry about at all. This frees our mind and helps us wonder instead, at how amazing things are and can be!

Knowing what we can control at this moment (and in those past and future ones as well) and letting go of everything else that is not in our sphere of control (note I say sphere and not circle) helps us break free of this worry-spiral.

Shift from Worry to Wonder

Accept your fears too, for they are part of you. When we face them head-on, we might get a better handle on the why and thus help ourselves conquer our fears. Instead of worrying about those unknowns or even those known things, we can wonder about them.

Maybe the worry is that we might not have made enough food for the dinner tonight (and there are guests!). But shifting it to wonder can make it sound like, I wonder what we can do to fix it instead (like use up those fruits we have to make a quick fruit salad! Or indulge in that ice cream you wanted to get for it is a special occasion.. make it healthy if you wish with that fruit. Or did you forget you had all that fruit?)

Making conscious tiny shifts from worry to wonder or to action (see the next point) helps!

Stay Active/Take Action

Regular physical activity not only benefits your physical health but also contributes to mental well-being. Exercise releases endorphins, helping to reduce stress and worry.

Instead of worrying about something, do that something, or do something else completely different. Being active takes our mind off the things that worry us. Worry is after all a form of energy, so direct that energy into action – dance, a walk, cooking up a storm (I mean, a meal, a recipe you have been meaning to try), or clean that closet/room/space that needs cleaning (you know what I am talking about!).

And going back to worrying about not having enough for that dinner, you could swing into action and make a cool something with leftovers too. It is not a crime, so don’t worry;-)

Embrace Creativity

Engage in creative activities that inspire your imagination. This could include art, writing, music, or any other form of self-expression. And instead of using your imagination for all those ‘worst-case’ scenarios, imagine a better, positive one instead. You never know – the power of positive manifestation, right?

Visit museums, attend concerts, or explore art galleries. Exposure to various forms of art can evoke a sense of wonder and appreciation for human creativity.

Explore the Outdoors

Spend time outdoors and connect with nature. Whether it’s a walk in the park, a hike, or simply sitting in a garden, nature has a way of sparking wonder.

Wander, to places where nature shows her cool colors, like here is Valley of Fire State Park. Trust me, I had many reasons to worry that day, but the worries had no place in my mind with all the wonder that filled in a place such as this! But then again, look closer home too. You are sure to find wonder there to drive your worries away.

Explore this feeling of awe and wonder, and see how it can help you. Read Jonah Paquette’s Awestruck: How Embracing Wonder Can Make You Happier, Healthier, and More Connected.

Cultivate a Beginner’s Mind

Approach situations with a “beginner’s mind,” free from preconceptions and judgments. See things with fresh eyes, even in familiar surroundings. Seeing things from the eyes of a newbie, a child, or a beginner who is excited about something, can help spark our wonder, our curiosity, and a love for learning.

Explore new topics, read books, take classes, and be open to gaining knowledge in various areas. I find that learning something I already (think) I know in the company of those who are learning it for the first time opens a whole new perspective to the familiar.

Limit Information Overload

Reduce exposure to excessive negative news or information that fuels worry. Stay informed, but be mindful of the impact of constant exposure to distressing content. Turn it off if you wish. We all need to take a break from the constant blast that the internet and today’s world keeps bringing towards us.

Stop overthinking, and step away from information for just a little while. Silence your mind (meditate or focus it on a task that requires concentration). Check out this book titled Stop Overthinking for simple, effective techniques to do so.

Set Realistic Goals

Establish achievable goals and break them into smaller, manageable steps. This can reduce worry about the future while giving you a sense of accomplishment. It can also show you what you are capable of, and highlight your strengths when you do this. Thus leading to a sense of wonder about yourselves!

Appreciate Small Pleasures

Find joy in the little things. Whether it’s the beauty of a sunrise, the taste of your favorite food, or the sound of laughter, take time to appreciate small pleasures. Check out the book A Walk Around the Block by Spike Carlsen that shows how a walk around the block can open our eyes to wonder in new ways.

Every time I see a rainbow, my heart fills with joy and wonder at the miracles of nature. I feel lighter each time I see that familiar hummingbird (and I know it is the same one) perched on its favorite branch in our neighbor’s tree as it keeps watch on the feeder hanging by my kitchen window. Or I should say, guards that feeder from other hummingbirds!

Not the best photo but this was that hummingbird on its favorite perch from earlier today (has been a cloudy, rainy sort of day that started with a rainbow sighting too!) and this was through my not so clean kitchen window!!

Connect with Others

Share your experiences and perspectives with others. Engaging in meaningful conversations can provide new insights and create a sense of wonder in the diversity of human experiences. And yes, reduce your worries too.

To Sum It Up

Remember that these tips are not one-size-fits-all, so find what works best for you. Cultivating wonder and reducing worry is an ongoing process that involves adopting positive habits and fostering a resilient mindset.

And in the end, if you have to keep it simple, then it is this: pick wonder over worry! “I wonder what tomorrow will bring” (with a feeling of excitement) rather than “I worry what tomorrow will bring!”

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And Now, the End of this Post

Dear reader, share your thoughts on this post and also your tips on how to worry less and wonder more.

11 thoughts on “How to Worry Less and Wonder More

  1. I don’t have to “worry” about getting my blog post done for today because I set aside the time to do it and sat down and got started. Now I have to “wonder” what I will post for tomorrow.
    Blog on!

  2. This post came up at a very relevant time for me and it gives me a lot to think about and work with. I always have such a hard time with letting go of control and it has been such a driving force for my worries.

  3. I don’t have to worry that I will get a blog post written and published. These are wonderful tips that I will reflect on. Thanks for sharing this with us.

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