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Frozen in Fear

Thinking ahead can save you from a number of potential problems down the road, but overthinking has its own set of consequences. For example, consider a student taking a test who studied in advance but begins overthinking the answers and starts to second guess herself.

Thinking can help us to plan and be prepared, but there comes a point when we have to accept that we've done all that we can and allow things to play out as they may.

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Picture of a woman curled up in the fetal position on a park bench.
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Once you know that you've done all that you can, try to let the issue go. Worrying about it, stressing out about it, getting worked up and anxious, or thinking constantly about the issue won't change the facts.

Accept what is and move forward. Enjoy the time you have between now and then. If you have to go for surgery and are scared - you'll have plenty of time the day of the operation to be anxious. If you can't pay the electric bill, enjoy the lights now while you still can!

When we worry about something that may or may not be (such as when waiting for the results of a medical test) we may end up getting worked up about nothing. If it is something, you'll have plenty of time to worry about  it then. In the meantime, try to enjoy today.

If there's something that you have to deal with in the future but are not looking forward to, thinking about it and dreading that day won't change the situation. Spending time thinking and thinking about it is likely to only cause you stress and anxiety. If you know that you have three weeks before your least favorite relative will be in town visiting for a few days, don't forget that he or she is not there now!

Whether we worry about the future or not, tomorrow will come. We can't prevent the future from happening, but we can prevent ourselves from living in the present when we allow our minds to live in the future.

So the next time you find yourself ruminating about something, thinking about it repeatedly, rehashing the same thing over and over, try to remind yourself of what you do and do not have control over. If there's an action you can take to improve the future then by all means it's worth considering. But if you've done all that you can and it's just a waiting game, try to put the issue aside and get back to living today. That doesn't mean ignoring the future; just not allowing the future to control how you live today.

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