How to let yourself be happy and stop expecting the worst

Sometimes worrying about something too much is a self-fulfilling prophecy.

For instance, last night I was worried about not getting enough sleep. The thought, "You have to get up at 6 a.m! You have to get up at 6 a.m!" went over and over through my head like a skipping CD.

Because I was constantly worrying so much about not getting enough sleep, guess what happened — I didn't get enough sleep.

 I kept staring at the numbers slowing changing on my alarm clock, wide awake, and soon the time was 3 a.m. and I still couldn't sleep.

 Probably one of my worst qualities is that I, admittedly, am horrible at living in the moment. If I lived in the moment last night, I would have been able to sleep.

Instead, all I could think about was the future — how I would feel in the morning.

 Have you ever felt this way in life?

This happens to me all the time. I notice, when everything is going right in my life and I am extremely happy, all it takes for my mood to come crashing down is to think, "How long will this happiness last? How long will it be until something bad happens?"

 Instead of enjoying the happiness for what it is, I worry so much about how long it will last. And, in turn, the happiness lasts a lot shorter than it would have if I just stopped worrying about it.

Looking this up online, I found that this feeling is not uncommon. Human Resources professional Farah Bernier wrote, "I find that we are the biggest factor in limiting our own happiness because for some reason, we don’t think we’re actually deserving of it, that we haven’t earned it or that if we’re happy and enjoying something, someone else must be at a deficit of happiness and that’s our fault. Cut it out!!! Seriously, there is enough happiness in the world for those who will choose to embrace it."

I know just letting ourselves be happy is a lot easier said than done.

Todd Patkin of Hitched Mag wrote, "The things you think about and center your attention on shape the way you experience life. In other words, if your focus is on all of the horrible, negative, crippling things that might happen to you in the future, you’ll be calling more of them into your life. ... Your fears will hold you back, and your low self-esteem will prevent you from developing yourself and taking risks."

"I know from experience that if you train yourself to look for the positive, you’ll attract more positive things into your life. You’ll be happier, friendlier, kinder, and more optimistic."

Patkin said one way to do this is to be thankful for the things you have in your life...and, if things go wrong, to try and find the silver lining.

He also said that you need to remind yourself that you're not "omniscient." Trying to predict the future is just a waste of time.

"Realizing that you can’t predict how something will ultimately impact your life—that all you can do is make the best decision possible with the information you have now—really takes the pressure off," said Patkin.

I know my life would be so much better if I wasn't so worried about the ending — whether it's the ending of happiness, a relationship, etc. — and, instead, appreciate it in the moment.

Life has its good moments and its bad. Instead of thinking to myself, "This good moment will end soon," and wait for the bad to happen, I should do the opposite. When something bad happens, that's when I should think, "This will end soon. Soon I will be happy again." I need to start expecting the good to happen so that can be my self-fulfilling prophecy.

This is the only life we've got. And I no longer want to spend it worrying about the future or expecting the worst.

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