Introverts have a lot to worry about. We’re constantly at war with our own mind, as we battle against feelings of guilt, overwhelm, and inadequacy. We desperately want to mute our noisy thoughts and stop worrying. But how? How can we stop the endless cycle of worrying about everything from a dumb thing we said five years ago, to the consequences of climate change. How can we end the mental anguish of having a million thought knots that we’ll never untangle? Some people tell us to just stop worrying, as if there were some magical off switch we could access at will. If that were true we wouldn’t be up late doing mental laps around problems we’ll never solve by morning.
Is it a real problem?A lot of the things we worry about aren’t real problems. They’re what I call “candy bar problems”. Constantly chewing on candy bars erodes our teeth. Chewing on imagined problems does the same thing to our brain. It gradually destroys our mental landscapes. But if we would just leave the problem in its wrapper we’d avoid all the unnecessary worry. Winston Churchill explains:
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened.”Let’s say you’re worried about being judged by your coworkers for eating lunch alone. This is a candy bar problem because it only harms you if you choose to mentally chew on it. It may or may not be true that your colleagues are judging you. Even if they are, what are the consequences? They’re not going to revolt against you and throw stale mac and cheese in your face. If they’re judging you, it will make you feel bad. But wait a second. It’s really your THOUGHTS about their judgments that influence your emotions. Their judgments on their own can’t harm you. You can choose to keep those worries under wraps and save your mental energy for what really matters. Here are a few more quick tips to stop worrying: Related Resources: Feeling Anxious? 6 Tips to Stop Worrying Introvert Confidence Lessons What to Do When Your Mind Turns Against You