For the past few months (years, actually), I realized that I suffered from chronic stress.
Worrying about the future and regretting the past is something I do on a daily basis.
I used to think that a man who always thinking about the future is a ‘thinker’, and I feel like it’s such a positive trait to have.
However, that habit makes me restless and can’t have a proper restful sleep every night. Even I had to take one pill of ashwagandha every night, hoping that it will cure my stress problem.
So, I bought a book called How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.
He’s the same author who wrote How to Win Friends and Influence People.
And here are the top 10 things I learned from this book.
1. Don’t live in the future nor the past, live in the present.
This is one of the biggest mistakes I do every day. I’m always thinking about what I did in the past.
What if I didn’t get addicted to video games? What if I started my business earlier? What if I started going to the gym when I was in high school? What if? What if? What if? It’s endless.
It’s endless and it’s useless. There’s no going back, we all know that.
I’m also always thinking about my future.
What if I still didn’t get my shit together in the next year? What if I’m not successful in my 30s? What if my business failed? What would my friends think of me? What if? What if? It’s also endless.
I can’t control my future, I can only influence it.
Moreover, I live in the present, not in the past or the future. There is little use in thinking about anything but the present.
2. What’s the worst that could happen? Accept it and improve it slowly and do not overthink about the result.
When I took my time to write down the worst scenarios that could happen, I found out that most of them are not that bad. There’s always a chance to recover from most failures.
Start to improve or fix the problems from now, and you’ll know that your condition will improve.
3. Stress can cause physical damage and is the #1 cause of misery for the modern man.
Here’s the thing about stress: it kills you. Literally.
Most of the diseases of the modern man are directly or indirectly caused by stress.
When you’re stressed, your body doesn’t function properly. When you’re stressed, you’re more likely to indulge in an unhealthy lifestyle.
It makes you not be able to sleep restfully, it influences your choice of diet, and it impairs your relationship with other people.
4. Knowing exactly what the problem is is crucial, otherwise, you won’t find the solution.
The moment I write down all my problems, soon I found out all the solutions.
I also found out that I already started doing and incorporating the solutions to my daily life, so it’s just a matter of time before all of my problems get fixed/improved.
5. Free time is the perfect time to worry. Get busy.
This is a no-brainer, but I didn’t even think about it.
When I’m busy, either doing something productive or unproductive, I don’t think about my problems.
Maybe that’s why people binge-watch Netflix, watch porn, or play video games. It’s an easy choice to temporarily slide their problems from their minds.
6. Chances are, almost all of your fears are irrational and will not happen. Get to know the statistics.
A lot of things I worried about never happened. And this is the reason why insurance companies are thriving, they profited from the irrational fears of people.
Try to write down your worries, and keep it somewhere else. Take that paper out in the future, and see which one of your worries that actually happened. You’ll be surprised.
7. Accept the things you can’t change. Learn the difference between what you can and can’t change.
However positive and optimistic I am, still, there are things I can’t change—race, where I was born, my family, genetic defects, etc.
I do, however, can change my attitude towards my conditions. I can change my habits. I can change my mindset. I can work out on my physique, lifestyle, finance, and relationship.
Most people think that their physique is purely genetic, which is not true.
I’ve seen people with great genetics wasted their potential by simply not caring about themselves.
And I’ve seen people who are not that blessed but maxed out their potential with the right lifestyle and actions.
There are things that most people think are fixed, but actually not. And there are things that most people think are changeable, but actually not.
Wisdom is being able to know which is which.
8. Having faith—in anything—can lift your worries.
This is the main benefit of having a religion. You can always bring your problems to God and forget about it because you believe that God will take care of it.
But you don’t have to be religious to have faith. You can believe in yourself, or believe that you’ll end up just fine.
9. No one ever kicks a dead dog. When you’re attacked and criticized, it means you’re accomplishing something worthy of attention.
If only I know about this earlier, I’ll know that basically I was attacked and criticized mostly because I was accomplishing something which makes the people who attacked me feel insecure about themselves.
Instead, I worried that maybe I am whatever they were saying about me.
But no! Turns out that when people are insecure in the presence of someone, they will try to mock, making fun, or criticized that person to hide their inferiority.
10. Relax your body! A stressed body can cause a stressed mind.
The body and the mind are connected. When you feel stressed, your muscle will be tensed, your nerves twitched, and your stomach disturbed.
And the opposite is also true. When your muscles are tense, you’ll feel more cautious and anxious. It’s a defense mechanism to tell our mind that there are dangers and we should be worried and alerted.
That’s why doing meditation, yoga, or simple stretches usually works wonders. Anything that relaxes the body also relaxes the mind.
This book is perfect for people who always overthink everything.
It’s written not with scientific studies, but with personal stories and case studies.
If you prefer to get inspired by other people’s success stories, then this book is for you.