We each have 86,400 seconds in a day. This time is far more valuable than dollars or money because we can’t get it back. When our time is gone, it is gone.
When we spend or lose money, we can always make more.
So, every time we get upset, we lose about 10 seconds. But many of us then throw away the 86, 390 seconds we have left in a day by worrying about it or getting caught up in our negative feelings.
We throw away our time by not giving 100% of our attention to what we are doing. We let our minds run away for minutes, hours, or even days worrying or dwelling on negative thoughts.
Often those negative thoughts interrupt our sleep, keep us from actively listening to our partners, and literally wear us out by running around in circles in our minds.
It’s time to start letting the little things go. Why do we waste our precious time on negative thoughts? Do you know how to stop?
Here are some ways you can rationalize with yourself to decide if thoughts are worth your time. And if not, you can let them go, and keep on moving forward.
The Time Test
Ask yourself, is this going to matter in one week, one month, or one year? Will I even remember this then? If not, let it go!
This method has helped me stop wasting time on negative thoughts about silly disappointments as well as minor money issues.
For example, my partner is an hour late and I’m hungry waiting to eat dinner. But I ask myself, one year from now, is this going to matter? Absolutely not.
Thinking about it in this context can actually make me laugh sometimes! A year from now, will I even remember this article I’m trying to ‘get right’ in this moment?
Make a list of things that you can control about whatever situation is challenging you if it is ongoing.
Focus on what you have power over instead of what someone else said or did. Let go of the aspects that you cannot control.
Reminder: you cannot control what other people think.
For example, I can show up at work and maintain my level of professionalism. I can be on time, follow the rules, and smile at people because I am genuinely grateful to have an income and a job.
After hours, I can make plans for changing my work situation and not dwell on things going on there that are out of my hands.
Examine the situation and take responsibility for any part you played in creating it.
At first, you may think you are just a victim but really dig into how the other parties may be feeling and see if there is even a small part you could be responsible for.
In my case, I’m often an enabler. I tell people that I’m here to listen and they can come to me with anything. I genuinely mean it.
But then sometimes I feel dumped on. I have to take responsibility for the role I play in attracting people who have an outpouring of negativity that I invite them to share with me.
It’s my responsibility to create some boundaries.
Stop Hitting Replay
Once you have done what needs to be done, stop replaying the negative words, actions, or scenarios in your mind.
Press the stop button and walk away from it so you can have some peace.
I often replay scenarios in my head and imagine all the ways I could have handled it differently. In uncomfortable situations, I tend to spit out words that don’t help me get to my desired outcome.
So afterward, I rehearse in my head what I should have said. I tell myself it’s so that I can be prepared in future situations, but in reality, the situation in the future is unlikely to be exactly the same.
So I am wasting my time rehashing the issue and planning for an event that will probably never happen.
Channel Your Energy into Something Positive.
If you feel your body full of energy stemming from the problem, use it on something constructive!
Go to the gym, get up and clean, or complete a project.
I love using extra energy to create art! There may be some negative thoughts splattered on the page but at least they are out of my head!
These are just a few of the ways you can stop wasting time on negative thoughts. What do you like to do when you don’t want to waste your precious time being negative?
Share your ideas below!