When I feel some internal chaos building, like something encroaching into my life that is outside of my control I clean or I organize something. These acts help me find the internal calm I need to look more objectively at what is going on.
The day before I started a new job, I felt an onslaught of anxiety. What if I can’t learn their software, what if our personalities don’t gel, and so on and so forth. So I decided to clean out the junk drawer in my kitchen, which I know everyone has;) As I began organizing it, I could feel the anxiety dissipating. Then instead of all the fears creeping in, logic took over. I was worrying about situations that didn’t actually exist. Why was I automatically worrying about the things that could wrong instead of all the things that could go right? Well guess what? Everything is better than I could even have imagined. My boss is great. She is warm, welcoming and patient. Everyone in the office is down to earth and non-judgmental. The physical environment is as if I had designed it, making me feel very relaxed and comfortable.
So I encourage you to focus on what could go right in the unknown because that allows you to be so much more productive than worrying about things that likely won’t happen.
I also suffer from what I call “the fix-it complex”. When someone calls me and tells me they have a problem, my first thought is, how can I fix this. The problem with this is two fold. First off, I can’t control the actions and behaviors of others. So the fix I may do may not be what is best for them. Because you never really know what is happening deep within someone or the other situations they are dealing with, so my fix might actually create another problem for them.
Secondly, sometimes they just need someone to listen not act because it’s their way of just thinking out loud. A friend called me recently to vent and hearing what was stressing her out, I threw out some suggestions. Finally she said, “I will figure it out but I really just needed to vent”. Honestly that hadn’t occurred to me. I thought she was calling me to fix it. So I just said a little prayer for her to find the solution that was right for her then reminded myself that listening can be just as helpful, and sometimes more so than responding.