August 21, 2014

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

JDZ_USC_1_089By Brittany Fleck, USC Student
Have you heard of the saying “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff?” Do you try to manipulate situations so much that you end up driving yourself crazy? Do you obsess over tiny details and fixate on the pieces of a plan that don’t run smoothly? Does your worrying make the outcome any better than it was in your head? Or did it fall into an order like all events of life ultimately do? Or maybe you did achieve your goal like you planned out, but you didn’t enjoy the process of getting there.

Over-thinkers suffer from a very specific ailment: we sweat the small stuff. All day, every day, we focus on the tiny pieces of an excessively elaborate plan. While being detail-oriented means we are consistently taking initiative, working hard, and getting things done, there’s a point of diminishing returns that can really take a toll on one’s mental state. When we scrutinize every angle of a situation and play it out so much that the outcome either exceeds or falls below our expectations, we can get so caught up in the details that that we can’t see straight anymore. To make matters worse, we end up worrying needlessly and creating a whole lot of extra stress.

I think one of the biggest problems that I face in my life is this constant ability to over think. I have become better at it through the years, but ultimately it is a practice- one that needs constant revisiting to become good at. The thing about over thinking is it kind of sneaks up on you. You over think one event, one encounter, one meal and it starts to add up… and then weigh you down. When every decision you make requires a complete and thorough analysis, you get so caught up in the nitty-gritty that you lose sight of the big picture and get stuck in place.
For me- the best way that I can deal with my racy brain is to BREATHE. When I remind myself to breathe it takes me out of my obsessive and irrational thoughts and brings me to a place when I have a clear mind.

I ask myself- “what really is the worst thing that can happen,” will I care about this tomorrow,” “is this excess worrying and fear of not being perfect or doing things the ‘right way’ preventing me from completely being me and enjoying life?” These questions tend to set me back on track, but only when I answer fully and thoroughly. Make sure you do the same. Continue with deep breathing and relaxation and I guarantee that you’ll be amazed at what you see with a fresh set of eyes.