Q: I can’t help but get stressed and worried about the future ALL the time. I mainly worry about my job security. I’m in tech and things change so quickly. I’ve been really irritable and having trouble sleeping. Any help would be appreciated.
A: I try to live by this quote by ancient Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu.
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
So simple, yet so true. Let me ask you this-What does stressing out about the future solve? Does it make you feel better? Does it help you from being left behind in your field, as you suspect? Nope. But I can tell you what it will do for you. Stress will make you feel worse, it will raise your cortisol levels and it will negatively impact your mental and physical health.
According to Healthline.com,
- Cortisol compromises your immune system, so people under chronic stress are more susceptible to viral illnesses, like the cold and flu.
- Frequent or chronic stress makes your heart work too hard for too long, raising your risk of hypertension and problems with your blood vessels and heart.
- Your central nervous system (CNS) is in charge of your “fight or flight” response. The CNS instantly tells the rest of your body what to do. In the brain, the hypothalamus gets the ball rolling, telling your adrenal glands to release adrenaline and cortisol. When the perceived fear is gone, the CNS should tell all systems to go back to normal. If the CNS fails to return to normal, or if the stressor doesn’t go away, it takes a toll on your body. Symptoms of chronic stress include irritability, anxiety, and depression. (Which you’ve already seen in action.)
Not to mention the toll it can take on your relationships. Pretty bad deal! But I get it, we all fall into the trap of letting stress and worry get the best of us. It creeps into our thoughts and can become a daily bad habit. You say that you can’t help it, but girl, you’re more powerful than that. You absolutely can help it. YOU are in control of your thoughts, which affect your emotions and in turn your actions.
Why not turn that nervous energy into motivation and focus on excelling in your field and at your job? Keep up to date by taking classes, workshops, reading books and studies on the latest innovations. This may help ease your mind on being left behind and will keep you marketable. Also, dont’ be afraid to speak up and advocate for yourself. Communicate with your managers about special projects or roles you can take on. Make yourself indispensable.
I suggest trying yoga and/or meditation to learn to be present in the moment. That is all that truly exists, right? Being mindful will help you find some peace about the future. Read my posts on the benefits of meditation and meditation 101,