I heard this question recently and it’s something that I’ve kept coming back to when I find myself worrying needlessly.
“Will this matter in a month… a year… or in 5 years time?”
I’m not suggesting that you avoid or ignore issues. If there’s a problem, yes – recognise it and decide on a course of action. And I suppose that worrying does have some uses. Sometimes we don’t actually know there’s a problem until we notice that we’re worrying about it. Sometimes being a worrier can encourage people to step up even more; to take a ‘no stone unturned approach’ to tasks, skills, relationships and so on. So it’s not all bad.
But it’s definitely more bad than good. Worrying about things that you can’t change, things that haven’t and more often than not don’t ever even occur, is just a waste of time. And so very emotionally, physically and spiritually draining.
Recently, when I’ve found myself ruminating over what someone may or may not think of me – my go-to and most pointless worry – I just ask myself to step a year or 5 into the future, and decide whether this problem will still matter then.