How To Be Free Of Stress Anxiety And Worry

How To Be Free Of Stress Anxiety And Worry

Yesterday sucked.

It didn't have to, but it did.

Why? Because it made it suck.

I woke up beside my wife (and best friend), got my healthy and happy 10-month-old son out of his crib. Hugged and kissed my sweet, happy and healthy 7-year-old daughter. Walked downstairs and opened a fully stocked refrigerator, pulled out some eggs. Got my daughter cereal out of our fully stocked pantry and enjoyed breakfast in my safe neighborhood with my healthy family.

Then I went up to my office where I have everything I need to run a successful business. I opened my laptop and reviewed my upcoming delivery calendar.

This is the calendar that my entire life depends on. It maps out my workshops, programs, coaching sessions, and keynotes. As I am looking at it, I am super happy to see how much work I have to do. I am booked out through the rest of the year. I haven't made a cold call in months. Life is good.

Then it hits me, and I start freaking out.

My delivery schedule and my accounts payable are on different schedules.

I'm not getting paid for 40-60 days for all this work. My mind immediately went into overdrive.

Ok, how much is in checking? How much is in savings? How about the emergency fund? Do I have enough to keep afloat? what if I run out of money? What if I fall behind on my mortgage? What if we're not able to afford groceries? What if we lose our house? Will my wife be mad at me for this? Both of my kids have birthdays in September, what if I'm not able to afford birthday parties? What kind of dad would I be if I couldn't even give my kids a birthday party? What am I doing? Was my grandpa right when he told me I could never make it as an entrepreneur? What am I even doing? Should I get a "real job"?

This went on for about 3 hours. I was frantically canceling subscriptions (sorry audible) and trying to find things in my office to sell on eBay.

Then, my wife walked up to say hi. She said, "how's your day going?"

Wrong question.

I unloaded all my stress, fear and anxiety on her.

After I had finished my mantic rant, she looked at me with the steadiness of a 100-year-old oak and said, "It's going to be ok".

She believed it and so did I (sort of).

After she went back downstairs, I remembered something I had been practicing in my relationships.

It's a process that Bryon Katie created. She calls it, "The Work".

It consists of 4 questions you ask yourself when something stresses you out, make you feel anxious, or frustrates you.


1) Is it true?

2) Can you absolutely know it's true?

3) How do you react when you believe that thought?

4) Who would you be without the thought?

I have been using "The Work" in my relationships with great success. It had allowed me to be a better listener to my wife, a more empathic friend, a more understanding coach and business person, and less in my head in general.

For some reason, I had not thought to use it in this situation. So I decided to try it.

1) Is it true?

YES. I am indeed going to have a gap in my income.

2) Can you absolutely know it's true?

YES. Well, sort of. I will have some income. teaching fees, workshops. Oh, there are those two keynotes, and I have an emergency fund if I need it.

3) How do you react when you believe that thought?

When I believe the thought that I am going to lose my house, let down my family, not be able to afford the basic needs of my family. I react by feeling stress, guilt, anxiety, fear and lots of other stressful emotions.

4) Who would you be without the thought?

I would be stress-free. I would have a great day. I would be more productive at work and enjoy my day more.

Walking through these questions helped me understand that I had spent 3 hours of my day freaking out about something that would probably not happen. I had created a worst-case scenario that wouldn't become a reality. ever.

I Am an Old Man and Have Known a Great Many Troubles, But Most of Them Never Happened 
— Mark Twain

And instead of marinating in this toxic thinking, I could choose to realize that I was actually in a really good place. I will get paid. My family will be ok. My awareness of the accounts receivable gap helps me plan better over the next few months so that I can focus on my business and serving my clients.

And all the sudden, I came out of the fog. I ended up being productive for the rest of the day and even booking some new business. And as I look back, I realize that I was my own worst enemy yesterday.

And going forward I have an option to live in a reality full of gratitude and mindfulness or to live in the chaotic and irrational world that my fear creates.

I choose peace.

So next time you find yourself spiraling out of control, here are a few things you might consider:

If you can’t impact it, don’t let it impact you.

Ask yourself the 4 questions. And not just in your mind. Write it out. Look at it. Interrogate it.

1) Is it true?

2) Can you absolutely know it's true?

3) How do you react when you believe that thought?

4) Who would you be without the thought?

I am so thankful my friend, Jason Goldberg introduced me to Bryon Katie's work.

Another thing Jason taught me is:

You are not your thoughts, you are the thinker of your thoughts.

We get to choose what thoughts we accept and what thoughts we let float by.

Maybe that's why the Apostle Paul told the Corinthians to "Take every thought captive to make it obedient to Christ" 2 Cor 10:5

What I think Paul is saying here is that we have a choice to decern EVERY thought we have and decide if it's true and helpful. If it's not, let's put it to the side. If it is, let's cling to the truth.

That's how we find peace. That's how we make healthy decisions.

So, let's do the work of believing the truth so that we will know the truth.

The truth that sets us free.

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