When Concern Keeps You From Taking Action

· August 27, 2018

Concern is natural and common in all human beings. However, we often stagnate in concern, forgetting that perhaps taking action is just what we need to move forward.

Concern is a mental attempt to find a solution to a situation that makes us anxious. This situation or problem could have happened or can also be a possibility that we’ve imagined. It’s a cognitive activity that prepares us for what we believe is to come. Therefore, worries arise as a mechanism to generate actions and face different difficulties.

However, many times we worry and overthink things without actually reaching any solution. We think and think about ideas that concern us, generating vicious cycles that make us link problems and ultimately forget that the goal is finding a solution.

Why do we invest more time in worrying than in taking action?

Worrying is the first step towards coping with a problem. Feeling that we’ve started to “take action” is reassuring, since it means we’re closer to finding a solution.

Girl experiencing concern.

This short-term tranquility makes us relax so much that you may incur in avoidance behavior. We avoid taking action because we feel more comfortable being concerned, although it may seem odd since no one likes being worried.

This way, time passes. Although we might believe we’re facing the problem, we may also feel stuck. You may feel that you’ve gone from generating alternative solutions to thinking too much about an idea and becoming anxious. It’s then when worrying loses its function and becomes a great obstacle that robs us of our time and energy without us even realizing it.


How to deal with your concerns

These ideas may help you downplay the concerns that hold you back and thus allow you to finally take action.

Take a step back: try to be objective

Analyze what’s bothering you in an objective way and write down what you think will happen. Many times we’re not realistic with our predictions because our emotions are involved. Would we see it in the same way if a friend or family member had this problem? Think about how likely it is that the things that are bothering you will happen or not.

Take a step forward: put yourself in the worst case scenario

What if what worried you so much happened? Put yourself in the worst case scenario. Even if it happens, we tend to be more able to face things when they transcend hypotheses and become a reality. We’ll definitely be stronger if we take action instead of just worrying.

Accept that some things are inevitable

If what you’re worried about is something that’s going to happen regardless of what you do or don’t do, think about what you can do to deal with the situation better. There are problems that we can’t control. However, we can decide to protect ourselves so they don’t affect us as much. Keep in mind that thinking again and again about a problem for which there’s no solution will make you suffer.

Worried girl.

Protect yourself

Protect yourself and strengthen what you think is necessary to face the situation better. Sometimes the best protection can be distraction. Other times, however, the solution depends on you and the time has come to take action. It may be time to take that step, end that relationship, or say what you’ve been holding in for so long.

Pick a time to worry

If you need to think about something and you see that, because you’re not dedicating all of your attention to it, that thought doesn’t leave your mind and stays with you as if it were a shadow, seeping into the rest of your emotions and thoughts… stop. All worries do is distract you and cause anxiety. Find a moment to devote to that problem so that it doesn’t echo in your mind all day.

The best is the enemy of the good

That’s what Voltaire said. And sometimes we lose a lot of time and energy looking for the best way, the perfect one. Pick a time to look for alternatives and solutions. However, when that time runs out, you have to make a decision. Although all your options may seem far from perfect, it will be time to choose the “best of the bad solutions”.

Be brave

There doesn’t have to be a problem or a concern behind every solution. We grow, and as we do, we internalize the idea that worrying is necessary to face a problem. However, you can take action without worrying. It’s a matter of accepting things and knowing that you’ll do everything in your power to face it.

Guy sitting on the edge of a deck.

Beyond concerns

Beyond the wall of concerns, there’s a beautiful sunset. Sometimes, earthquakes or thunder shatter everything… for a while. Other times the sun rises, it rains, and then there’s a beautiful rainbow. Sometimes everything happens in a day.

What I want to say is that, when we stay behind the wall for too long out of fear of what’s on the other side, what’s on the other side doesn’t change. We lose time and the clouds don’t go away, they end up going beyond the wall. That’s why, if you don’t want to get wet, take an umbrella. And if you don’t have an umbrella, enjoy the rain.

“Don’t watch the clock, do what it does. Keep going.”

-Sam Levenson-