Most animals unlike humans live in immediate return environments. This means that they get immediate gratification from the actions they take in the world around them.
- If a cow is hungry it will eat the grasses immediately around it.
- If there’s a storm rolling in, it will seek shelter under the nearby tree.
- If it feels threatened by a dingo it’s heart rate will increase, the adrenaline will rush and it will run away.
Humans on the other hand are different. We live in what researchers call a delayed return environment. Meaning that most of the choices that you make today, will not benefit you immediately. If you save money now, you’ll have enough for a house deposit later. If you study now, you can get your dream job in a couple of years. Most aspects of modern life are designed to delay rewards until some point in the future.
This is true for our problems as well. While a cow is worried about immediate problems like seeking shelter from a storm. Many of the problems we worry about are problems of the future.
Here are three simple ways to stop worrying about the future and reduce your stress and anxiety today.
The act of measuring takes an unknown quality and makes it known. When you measure something, you immediately become more certain about the situation. Measurement won’t solve your problems on its own, but it will clarify the situation. Making you less anxious and to focus on what you can do about your problem on a daily basis.
- You can’t know for certain if you’ll have enough for a house deposit in the next 3 years, but you can remove some uncertainty from the situation by measuring how much you save each month.
- You can’t be sure that you’ll get your dream job after graduation, but if you continue to study well and track the internships you apply for then you can increase your certainty.
Shift your worry
The second thing you can do is “shift your worry” from the long-term problem to a daily routine that will solve that problem.
- Instead of worrying about when you’re getting your next promotion focus on improving your skills each day. For skills improvement click here.
- Instead of worrying about reaching your weight goal for the wedding, focus on cooking a healthy dinner tonight.