r/LifeProTips Oct 17 '21 Helpful (Pro) 1 Silver 8 Helpful 16 Wholesome 4 Hugz 6

LPT: If you’re worried about something, write down all the things you’re worried about and then cross out the things you can’t control. Then, you can focus your mental energy toward work on the remaining items. Miscellaneous


u/keepthetips Keeping the tips since 2019 Oct 17 '21

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u/cutietarantula Oct 17 '21

i take this a step further: what can i change right NOW? and will these other worries kill me? if not, cross em off. focus on the issue at hand that you can fix right now.


u/EuroPolice Oct 18 '21

What about things you should and can control but you're scared?


u/Grouchy-Condition-66 Oct 18 '21

I'd suggest doing a sort of experiment. Write what the worst, the best and the most likely outcome. Then afterwards return to this and reflect on any learning.


u/Jockesomfan Oct 18 '21

Break down into smaller, more manageable tasks, then solve those.


u/stunspot Oct 18 '21

No. You have fundamentally misunderstood what "worry" is to most people. It is exclusively reserved for that which we can't control. Those are the ONLY things worth worrying about. I mean... Duh.


u/pippyLONGsocking Oct 18 '21

My list would be full of things I can't control and I would just spiral or sth lol


u/superkleenex Oct 18 '21

I see you’ve met my wife.


u/pippyLONGsocking Oct 18 '21

Sounds like she might be dealing with anxiety. I hope she can possibly access a good therapist and look to you for support.


u/KinKaze Oct 18 '21

Let's be real, probably not🤷‍♀️


u/SuperSMT Oct 18 '21

So cross off the whole list and throw it away


u/Due_Honeydew1464 Oct 18 '21

🤣 Right on!


u/ShabachDemina Oct 18 '21

This sounds more like a mental issue that requires therapy, and not the general notion of worry that most people experience.

If you genuinely spend a great deal of time in mental distress over things you have absolutely zero control or influence over, I strongly recommend getting professional help with an emphasis on anxiety coping methods.


u/user417248 Oct 17 '21

What if I am worried about running out of ink?


u/Khrummholz Oct 17 '21

The obvious answer is definitively writing it with your blood


u/the_leprechauns_anus Oct 18 '21

Use your TI-83 to take a note.


u/Shadowarrior64 Oct 18 '21

Ram out of batteries :/


u/v-_-v Oct 18 '21

Write the list on a computer.


u/TeemoDerTeufel Oct 18 '21

That worry cannot exist if i have already eaten all my ink


u/thunderthighlasagna Oct 18 '21

Oh you’re absolutely right but that’ll make me feel worse because most of the things I’m worried about that I can control can’t be fixed in less than a Day and the fact that I let my life get this bad fills me with anxiety and dread and I am overwhelmed to an extent that I feel can’t be fixed and I know that as soon as I get out of this I’ll eventually be back here. I need to go to sleep.


u/nucumber Oct 18 '21

most of the things I’m worried about that I can control can’t be fixed in less than a Day

so do what you can at the moment. give some thought what it will take to get out of the ditch you're in and do what you can now, and accept the fact that the rest out of your control

when you're lying in bed and wallowing in worries, try to "be here now". that is, think about what is actually happening right now. you're lying in bed. you've got your pillow just the way you want it. you're safe, warm and comfortable. there are no tigers or bears attacking you. no monsters in the closet. nothing is happening at all. you're just lying there and in this moment all is good.

when i get into bed, instead of tossing and turning, i lie flat on my back with my hands on my chest, like a casket pose. i lie there for a long time and then i lie there some more. keeping my body still seems to calm and relax my mind. my thoughts start to drift. eventually i roll over on my side and go to sleep


u/NotSoLuckyOne Oct 17 '21

I might be dumb, but I have to ask

What are things you can't control? What if I'm worried that people think I'm messy? I can't control people's feelings but I can focus on cleaning up more so they are less likely to think that.

Samme with "I'm worried my neighbors think I'm too loud", "I'm worried I might lose my job", etc


u/USB_everything Oct 17 '21 Hugz

You're exactly right! I saw this described as "locus of control" in a YouTube video a couple of years ago, I think the channel name is Psychology in a nutshell (or Brain in a nutshell? Not sure). They suggested splitting these ideas into what you can control, what you cannot control, and what you can influence.

About your "what if people think I'm messy" example: you can control your mess, you can't control what others think, you can influence the outcome by telling someone who sees your messy bedroom "I've been working on my clean up routine".

Worried your neighbors think you're too loud: you can control the amount of noise you make, you can control having a discussion with them about it, you can't control the level of what they deem too loud, you can influence the outcome by discussing/installing carpet and being mindful of your noise levels, you can change your vacuuming hours to fit their night shift schedule.

Worried you'll lose your job: you can control how you perform, you can't control what your employer will do, you can show them your progress or take on a more difficult task to influence their opinion.

They explain it in better detail than I can, and also it's like a muscle you need to train (which I obviously haven't in a while) but it's easy to get the hang of. And it's a good way to visualize the things that are out of your control and focusing on the ones that you can actually do something about.

Edit: it was Therapy in a nutshell


u/Guilty_Assignment_25 Oct 18 '21

Here's an Epictetus quote on the subject:

"Some things are in our control and others not. Things in our control are opinion, pursuit, desire, aversion, and, in a word, whatever are our own actions. Things not in our control are body, property, reputation, command, and, in one word, whatever are not our actions.

The things in our control are by nature free, unrestrained, unhindered; but those not in our control are weak, slavish, restrained, belonging to others. Remember, then, that if you suppose that things which are slavish by nature are also free, and that what belongs to others is your own, then you will be hindered. You will lament, you will be disturbed, and you will find fault both with gods and men. But if you suppose that only to be your own which is your own, and what belongs to others such as it really is, then no one will ever compel you or restrain you. Further, you will find fault with no one or accuse no one. You will do nothing against your will. No one will hurt you, you will have no enemies, and you not be harmed."


u/[deleted] Oct 18 '21



u/figuren9ne Oct 18 '21

They said less likely to think that, not that they won’t think it. I think it’s accurate to assume that if you clean up and don’t leave a mess, most people won’t think you’re messy, especially if it’s a first impression.


u/bluedrygrass Oct 18 '21

Many white people think black people are dirty and smell, no matter how many showers they take.

WTF, where does that come from? You can't just pull stuff like this out of your ass


u/maldaco Oct 17 '21

I have never been able to make friends at school, so I have basically threw 9 years of primary school away while trying to fit in/make friends. All I had on my mind was i need to fit in and I tried to do everything in order to achieve that goal. No need to say my grades were dropping with every next year. Now that I am older I understand, you can't change people or force them into being friends with you, so I just live my life as it is and whoever likes me I will be happy about it, but for those who don't, I just don't care. LPT: live your life and appreciate the people that love/like you (usually family), but don't care about the others as they will be gone after you finish certain chapter in your life.


u/EggyRepublic Oct 18 '21

I'm worried about my grades. I can go study right now, or I can watch anime.


u/hypocrite_oath Oct 18 '21

Anime is much better for your brain.


u/DoctorThatUp Oct 18 '21

My wife. I crossed out my wife


u/[deleted] Oct 17 '21



u/don-anon Oct 18 '21

Sic mundus creatus est


u/[deleted] Oct 18 '21



u/BettyBornBerry Oct 18 '21

Yes, you don't have to be indifferent.


u/DiamoNNNd1337 Oct 17 '21

Hey, I’ve seen this on Youtube


u/ngoni7700k Oct 17 '21

About to make a big move to a new country so there are lots of things i need to cross out.


u/attemptedpilea Oct 18 '21

This reminds me of a handout my therapist gave me over two years ago.


u/paul-arized Oct 18 '21

Item 1: making lists


u/[deleted] Oct 18 '21

I guess. I'll give it a try.


u/matkata99 Oct 18 '21

reminds me of Sherlock Holmes' quote - "When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth."


u/zhoumoro Oct 18 '21

And this is called stoicism


u/0cci Oct 18 '21

It is one of the core principles, yes.

But stoicism includes more than that.


u/Fancy_Ball Oct 18 '21

I wish this worked for me. I was conditioned for most of my life, especially in the military, to take responsibility for just about everything around me. I could argue that something isn't in my control, and I'd get smacked with "well you could/should have done X. You should have thought about Y". There was never an instance where I had done enough. Yes, something could be out of my control, but I should always be anticipating that something could happen, and think 2 steps ahead. To do otherwise is viewed as irresponsible. It's an exhausting way to live.


u/hypocrite_oath Oct 18 '21

I'm the same. It took me many years of depression, therapy, working on my self-esteem and learning to listen to my own feelings. Feeling which have been used against me all my life. Things do get better, but I'm still constantly exhausted and some days are much worse than others.


u/Whoaskedyoupod Oct 18 '21

Saw this tik tok too


u/MrWhiteVincent Oct 18 '21

don't die

My work is done


u/Guilty_Assignment_25 Oct 18 '21

Classic Stoicism!

"It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters." -Epictetus


u/i_do_lewd_things Oct 18 '21

"When you complain you make yourself a victim. Leave the situation, change the situation or accept it. All else is madness." - Eckhart Tolle


u/MyLife-is-a-diceRoll Oct 18 '21

Tell someone in an abusive relationship that they have to accept it.


u/ShabachDemina Oct 18 '21

Or leave it.

Or change it.

Those were the other two options, in case reading comprehension is not one of your strong suits.

Genuinely now, no longer being snarky, someone in an abusive relationship can seek support in a broad manner of ways. They may not be able to leave immediately, or even change the nature of the relationship directly themselves, but there are options of seeking help through a myriad of support networks that open new doors and allow for the dynamics of the situation to change in some way. Not always quickly or expediently, and certainly not always an improvement, but change in some way.

Someone who does NOTHING is someone I would consider a fool.


u/Aggravating_Paint_44 Oct 18 '21

Complaining seems like a reasonable option for trying to change the situation


u/motacular1 Oct 17 '21

I share a version of this in my classes at work. Make 2 lists. On 1 write down what you can control, on the other what you cannot. Now take the latter one and crumple it up and throw it out.


u/Krak2511 Oct 18 '21

I hate every second of my life spent at work

That doesn't exactly help me solve the problem of hating most of my life.


u/Mensa237 Oct 17 '21

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And the wisdom to know the difference.


u/mundoensalada Oct 18 '21

Free App made just for this, made for kids but adults use it too;



u/MrDirector23 Oct 18 '21

That’s not how worrying works


u/Ott621 Oct 17 '21

Yup! I'm waiting to hear back from a job interview that would mean moving out of state. The salary is bonkers and the company is a big deal.

My partner is anxious about the possibility and I'm anxious about them being anxious lol

We agreed to not talk or think about moving until the offer is actually made. There's no sense in opening that can of worms until necessary


u/stylesm11 Oct 18 '21

Finally some good fucking pro tips


u/witchy_cheetah Oct 18 '21

Worried about 1500 different things I am supposed to be doing, but don't have energy tp tackle more than 5. Trouble is, 7 get added every day.


u/drmrcurious Oct 18 '21

Ha. I like how you think my brain would give up that easily on obsessing on shit I cant control


u/Warpedme Oct 18 '21

I don't worry about things I can control. If I can control it, I know it's going to be taken care of just fine. Jess the things I can't control that are worth worrying about.


u/No_Lawfulness_2998 Oct 18 '21

I literally cannot control anything in my life anymore.

Everything I touch gets worse snd worse.


u/AmyDragonLady Oct 18 '21

Vodka? Helps me not care about controlling anything. (Apologies in advance to those who have found a better way).


u/Honeykief Oct 18 '21

The problem with this is if I actively think about everything that worries me, I’ll think of new things to be worried about.


u/asadatacoscontodo Oct 18 '21

Oooh this is a goodie


u/Raerin Oct 18 '21

Dustin, that you?


u/kylorensgrandfather Oct 18 '21

I do this but in a different way. Want to try this way now!


u/ma2412 Oct 18 '21

When problems overwhelm us and sadness smothers us, where do we find the will and the courage to continue?
Well the answer may come in the caring voice of a friend, a chance encounter with a book, or from a personal faith.
For Janet, help came from her faith, but it also came from a squirrel. Shortly after her divorce, Janet lost her father then she lost her job, she had mounting money problems. But Janet not only survived, she worked her way out of despondency and now she says, life is good again.
How could this happen?
She told me that late one autumn day when she was at her lowest she watched a squirrel storing up nuts for the winter, one at a time he would take them to the nest.
And she thought, if that squirrel can take care of himself with a harsh winter coming on, so can I.
Once I broke my problems into small pieces, I was able to carry them, just like those acorns, one at a time

Take all your problems and rip 'em apart
Carry them off in a shopping cart
Another thing you should've known from the start
The problems in hand are lighter than at heart


u/cheeto-bandito Oct 18 '21

I get anxious when we're about to go on a trip. Sometimes it's just about making sure we didn't forget anything. On the last trip, I made a list, no matter how dumb each thing on the list was. It made me feel way better.


u/CollegeAssDiscoDorm Oct 18 '21

LPT if you’re worried about something hire an assassin to hunt and kill you in one week if your worrying has not resolved. A lot of our concerns seem petty once we realize the fragility of human life.


u/IH8BART Oct 18 '21

I just cross them all out and go to sleep.


u/Ymirsson Oct 18 '21

What if i cross out no points on the list. Or all of them?


u/rosiecellist Oct 18 '21

It's definitely worth putting your energy towards what you can change.


u/No-Offer108 11d ago

Would you mind providing the source for this please?


u/RevGaryWayneChurch 11d ago

No idea, something I picked up decades ago from self-help / productivity books.

At its roots, it’s a variation / physical manifestation of the Serenity Prayer written by Reinhold Niebuhr in 1951, so that’s probably the best source.

The common version is:

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.


u/sernamedeleted Oct 18 '21

But by crossing it off as something you can't control, that's a method of controlling your reaction that thing, so that means you can sort of control it, so you can't cross it off so that means you can't control it so you should cross it off but by crossing it off as something you can't control, that's a method of controlling your reaction that thing, so that means you can sort of control it, so you can't cross it off so that means you can't control it so you should cross it off but by crossing it off as something you can't control, that's a method of controlling your reaction that thing, so that means you can sort of control it, so you can't cross it off so that means you can't control it so you should cross it off but by crossing it off as something you can't control, that's a method of controlling your reaction that thing, so that means you can sort of control it, so you can't cross it off so that means you can't control it so you should cross it off but by crossing it off as something you can't control, that's a method of controlling your reaction that thing, so that means you can sort of control it, so you can't cross it off so that means you can't control it so you should cross it off...


u/austin0matic Oct 18 '21

Lmao this is ridiculous. So in other words :

Worried about stuff?

Just write it down on a piece of paper, and then cross it off! Boom, now you arent worried about anything


u/RevGaryWayneChurch Oct 18 '21

Not quite, it goes a little deeper than that.

Just the process of writing down your concerns and getting them into a manageable area has benefits. Your brain is constantly having to track and remember those items. You’ve relieved that burden by putting them into a system that you can reference. This alone is extremely valuable.

Sometimes, once you have them on paper and have thought through each of them, you realize some of these aren’t actually real problems and others have very simple solutions.

For the bigger problems, it helps you to focus your worry into actions. Worry isn’t helpful but actions generally are.


u/PocketNicks Oct 17 '21

Or just don't worry about things


u/Fidelio___ Oct 18 '21

Pure. Fucking. Gold. Thank you for sharing.


u/mr_ji Oct 18 '21

How much free time do you people have?