Have you ever found yourself worrying about a conflict, a fight, or a potential uncomfortable situation for longer than you’ve ever worried about anything? And once you experience whatever it was, it wasn’t nearly as bad as you thought it would be? So you ended up spending so much time fixating over this conflict, and you realize you could have poured more energy into something else instead.
I think it’s okay every once in a while, to get involved in situations like this. We’re human, we can’t help it. I also think it’s important to try to recognize what should and shouldn’t consume our time and energy. If we worry like this for every minor inconvenience, it drains us mentally. Of course, if you’re like me and your anxiety is on hyperdrive seemingly at all times, it’s more than difficult to try to pick and choose which battles require more attention. It’s a good idea to start practicing taking a step back and recognizing which events will probably end up just fine.
Something that always helps me decide which event in my life requires more attention or worry is whether or not I’ll still be thinking about it in the future. The timeline increases depending on how big the event is, for example: if I don’t turn this assignment in on time because I can barely keep my eyes open, will I still be worrying about it in a week? Logically, I can answer that question with “no,” because I know I’ll be able to finish the assignment in the morning after I’m well rested. I can justify a point being taken off of my assignment because I know that my well-being will be increased in the long run. To me, that’s not a difficult decision. Another example is: I need to choose a college to go to next year. Will this decision affect me a year from now? My answer would probably be “yes,” and since a decision of this magnitude will likely affect who I am and how I do things further into the future, I can put more time into the decision.
I don’t always see “picking your battles” as deciding whether or not it’s worth it to confront your coworker for eating your cupcake before you went on break. Sure, that is something that I would take the same steps in deciding whether or not it was necessary, but more often than not I think I pick my battles more with my own self and my anxiety. I have discovered recently that I am the only one who can determine who and what affects me in different ways throughout my day, and if I decide to let every inconvenience or difficult decision to affect me negatively, I’ll never be happy. I think it could take a lot of trail and error and a lot of attention to minor details, but it’s important to understand which experiences and situations require more of my time and energy.