Have you ever seen a baby stressed out about their life? A toddler who hates getting up in the morning because they have to play with those toys again! Not likely. Sure, young children experience stressors, but mostly because of the demand to have their needs and wants met. They are not stressed in ways that we are because they haven’t learned how to properly worry yet. They have not been taught the misbehavior of negative thinking that we know.
Yes, as adults we face many different challenges than children do, and we are developed in ways that they are still immature. However, the element of worry is a learned behavior, taught by children watching us stress and wonder about how things will work–or not work–out in our lives.
Wouldn’t it be nice to go back to those childlike experiences? To interpret our lives in less critical and stressful ways? Be free of wonder and worry about every outcome in our lives?
Even though we cannot reverse time and unlearn worrying altogether, we can begin to simplify our minds as much as possible by identifying negative patterns of thinking that bring us into worry and stress modes. Our mind actually becomes conditioned to a particular response (worry or stress) to our experiences and memories, and then this can produce the negative thoughts and stress we endure. If we can begin to interrupt the connection between past and current experiences, and reframe our minds to respond differently, then we can reduce some of the negativity.
If it sounds complicated, it’s because it can be. Just like your brain is wired to send a signal to your body when something is too hot or cold, your brain also sends a signal to your mental and physical anatomy when we are under stress. As doctors around the world have supported, this stress has a ripple effect for our entire body. Health issues galore occur when we endure stress for long periods of time and in excessive amounts. While it may not be easy to return to a state of childlike thinking, we owe it to ourselves to try.
This may be complicated in some ways, but not impossible. It’s about changing current thinking and feeling patterns.
- Begin monitoring your thoughts. Locate patterns of thinking that are related to either past or present experiences. Identify triggers, such as memories, disappointments, or hurt that seem to reappear. Watch your responses to situations, and see if you can predict emotions that follow.
- Begin monitoring your emotions. Are you all over the place with your feelings, with severe high and low episodes? Locate patterns of thinking that may be contributing to your negative and stressful feelings. Monitor your surrounding and interactions with others, and determine if this has an impact on your thoughts and emotions.
- Start to just let somethings go. We do not have control over everything in our lives, despite what we may believe. Release the worry and stress by doing what you can now and not agonizing over what happens later. We have to learn the art of letting go. Completely letting go of what is out of our reach, and sometimes even things that are within our reach.
- Are you over-committed? Saying YES to everything, and have too much on your plate? Is your TO-DO list impossible to complete? It is time to take a hard and fast look at how your days flow and your commitments. If your obligations and responsibilities are too much and you feel stretched thin, maybe its time for an overhaul of your TO-DO lists.
It is possible to live your life with childlike experiences and thought patterns. You can simplify your mind to reveal more positive thinking and remove the worry-stress syndrome. If you want more peace in your life, you have to make some adjustments and change some habits. While this may not be easy, once you create new standards of operation, you will see improvement over time. You may see some immediate shifts in your thinking as you eliminate some of the barriers and burdens to positive thought realignment.
Let’s work together to not only improve our own thinking habits, but to also be a model for the children and young adults around us so that they do not have to reframe their thinking later in life! We can contribute to breaking this cycle!