It was a Saturday morning and my then nine-year-old daughter, Brianna, was getting dressed to take an entrance exam at a school. Just before we left the house, I noticed she had matched her nice clean outfit with her old outdoor running shoes. I said, “Brianna, do you think you should put on a different pair of shoes?”
She looked down at her feet and then back up at me and said, “Mom, they’re not testing me on my shoes.”
I said, “You’re absolutely right.”
And we headed off to school—Brianna with her old running shoes and me with my new way of looking at them.
Brianna reminded me of something important that day. If we get too caught up in the little details, we can lose sight of what’s really important. For instance, if you dwell on what you don’t like about your appearance, you may lose sight of the fact you’re blessed with good health. If you dwell on what you don’t like in your neighborhood, you may neglect the fact you’re blessed with a home to live in.
As tempting as it can be, focusing solely on the little details and neglecting the bigger picture can cause a great deal of worry, stress, and dissatisfaction.
How, then, can we retrain our thinking to regain satisfaction and inner peace?
The remedy is to step back and ask yourself: What really matters? In Brianna’s case, her shoes weren’t really important. What was important was the test she was about to take. What was important was that she was comfortable so she could concentrate on the test and not worry about what was on her feet. I’m not suggesting you ignore all the details. Obviously, the details make up the bigger picture. It’s important to identify areas that require some fine-tuning and take action to make positive change. I suggest, however, that you don’t get so caught up in the details that you lose sight of what’s really important.
When you find yourself worrying about the little things, ask yourself: What really matters? Allow the answer to that question to renew your perspective and increase your inner peace.
— An Excerpt from CALM: A Proven Four-Step Process Designed Specifically for Women Who Worry by Denise Marek
P.S. Along with CALM listed above, you might enjoy Dr. Caroline Leaf’s new book “Think, Learn, Succeed: Understanding and Using Your Mind to Thrive at School, The Workplace, and Life.”