“Worrying does not take away tomorrow’s troubles. It takes away today’s peace.”

Jason Chatfield
3 min readJan 30, 2019

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~ Randy Armstrong

10th January, 2018

The one thing we all do when we’re up in our heads is create a reality that hasn’t eventuated yet. You talk to yourself in your brain and convince yourself of the certainty that the thing you’re anticipating will be a particular way.

Oh, he’s going to be so hard to deal with. It’s going to be a pain in the arse to get there. Traffic will be terrible. What if they hate what I’m wearing. My hair isn’t going to be the same length by then. I’ve put on weight since I saw them last — they’re going to say something.

You create an infinite amount of imagined futures, only one of which can ever actually eventuate.

14,000,605 futures to be stressed about.

When you live in your head like this, two things happen:

  1. You build up stress hormones in your body, like cortisol, compounding until the event itself eventuates. More cortisol leads to more stress, more bad health, more tension, bad digestion, inflammation, and a litany of other ailments.
  2. You rob yourself of living in the moment, being present and enjoying what you have now. You can’t control the future. Worrying about it does nothing to change it.

It isn’t unusual. We all do it. We catastrophize a future that we fear for one reason or another. We blow it out of proportion… and guess what?
9 times out of 10, you’re wrong. The future you anticipated doesn’t eventuate. All of your worrying was for nothing. But you’ll never get that time back.

This also applies to deadlines and perfectionist tendencies. You anticipate that the finished product won’t be perfect, so you find excuses to delay getting started. But I’ll cover that in another post.

Until then, try this experiment below. This slowly helps you to stop worrying so much about imagined futures and brings you back…

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Jason Chatfield

New York-based Australian Comedian & Cartoonist for the New Yorker. Obsessed with productivity hacks, the creative process, and the Oxford comma.