Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.
It looks silly to read, doesn’t it? How could I possible do anything else, with something I don’t have, somewhere I am not? Yes, it may be a mantra that states the obvious, but I’ve found some of the most profound lessons are truly the simplest. Here are some things that will help you remember you have everything you need and you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Follow these 5 steps to worry less and live more in the present.
1. Make Lists
You’ve heard this one before haven’t you? That’s because lists can save your sanity. When you feel overwhelmed by the things you need to do, put them down on paper. Actual paper. Don’t write them in your phone or type them in your fake sticky notes on the computer. Write them down with an actual pen on real paper and take note of the satisfying feeling when you drag the pen over each task to strike out those you’ve completely. Allow yourself to feel accomplished with each victory. And let your lists of tasks range in difficulty and stress level. Let “Pay the Electricity bill” sit next to “Take a shower.” Add a 15 minute rest to your list and go sit in child’s pose. While your scattered brain might feel you don’t have time for these things, your body and your mind will thank you.
2. Remember that worrying doesn’t make you more responsible
We all worry. And I’m sure we all know that worrying is a waste of energy. But why do we do it? We worry the most when there is nothing more we can do for the situation. The issue has removed itself from our grasp, but remains unresolved. Or perhaps a person in our life is struggling and we feel helpless. It’s the only thing left that we can do. We can’t change the situation. We can’t take anyone’s struggles away. But remember, neither can worrying. Worrying will never help you solve your problems. Worrying is a feeling we use to feel responsible for something we have no control over. But if worrying is hindering you in your everyday life, if it’s keeping you from staying present and accepting what you cannot change, than it’s time to let go. It’s tough to say “Don’t worry” to a worrier, but sometimes it’s a good thing to remember that if you allow yourself peace and acceptance, it doesn’t make you less responsible. You’ve already done everything you can with what you have. Find peace that what will be, will be.
3. Acknowledge your strength
Oh how often we forget. In times of stress or pursuit, we try to be superwoman: do the laundry, feed the kids, run the miles, read the books. Our expectations for ourselves can be incredible stifling. But instead of hitting the middle of your spin class feeling like a failure, tell yourself the opposite. Instead of “I can’t make it” think “I’ve made it this far!” Instead of feeling down for what you didn’t accomplish, remind yourself what you did. Allow yourself the freedom from expectation and focus on how strong and super you already are.
4. Practice non-attachment–literally
Aparigraha is one of the Yama’s in Patanjali’s 8 Limb Path and it means non-hoarding. To only take in what is necessary. It encourages you to embrace change as the only dependent and constant. Release nostalgia and greed, filling your life instead with peace and freedom. What do you hold an unnecessary attachment to? Maybe it’s the long hair you’ve worn for 6 years, your habitual morning coffee or the way you get from point A to point B. Mix it up: Exercise your ability to adapt, change and accept. Try the angled bob, a homemade smoothie or walking instead of driving. Releasing yourself from the binds of the smallest attachments can give you a whole new perspective and reveal to you that you have everything you really need right at your fingertips.
This may be one of the hardest tasks of all. When we hear the word Surrender we think giving up. But I’ve found that surrender is a paradise built from trust of self, acceptance, and courage. It takes courage to face the struggles in our lives and bow to them. Thank them. Accept them as they are and conquer them. Every hardship and every fall helps us grow and gives us strength. With a strong sense of self, we can steer into the skid and emerge renewed. Do what you can, with what you have, where you are. Then surrender. You are powerful, strong and wise. All things are as they should be. You are where you are meant to be.
What helps you worry less and stay in the present moment?
Also by Alyssa: 4 Steps to Centering Yourself
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Photo: lauren rushing via Flickr