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World Wide Group™

World Wide Group™

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

A brown egg has a worried face drawn on it, while the egg next to it has a mad face.

You’ve heard the phrase again and again: Don’t sweat the small stuff. But you may have some questions … starting with, what constitutes “small stuff?” In short, this phrase refers to the minor inconveniences in our lives. You know, the ones that definitely won’t matter in 5 years (or maybe even 2 weeks), but you lose sleep worrying about them anyway? 😉   

The truth is, no matter how often this phrase is repeated, we all find ourselves sweating the small stuff sometimes. And while we constantly have people telling us to let the insignificant things go, nobody ever tells us how to actually do that. If any of this sounds familiar to you, here’s our advice!  

A hand is held up to the sky.

Control what you can control.

How often do we get wrapped up in the uncontrollable? The way other people act, the future, the past, the outcome of pretty much any situation … we have little to no say in any of it. So, why do we spend so much time worrying about it?   

Research shows that this might be our natural response to protect ourselves. Towson University Psychologist, Sandra Llera, says that we worry as a way to feel emotionally prepared for negative outcomes. The truth? The outcome likely can’t be changed, whether you worry or not! Instead, try focusing on controlling the things you can control like the way you treat people, the energy you surround yourself with, and the values you live by. The rest will take care of itself. 

A book that says, “My Brain Has Too Many Tabs Open,” sits next to a cup of coffee and a cupcake.

Stop overthinking.

Our brains are incredible for so many reasons. But, what’s their downfall, you ask? Overthinking. We get into the habit of making problems where there aren’t any, or thinking something is a big deal when it’s not. Your boss looks at you weird for .02 seconds and suddenly you think you’re getting fired tomorrow. In reality, the look they gave you was because they were trying to hold in a sneeze. It’s a funny concept when you think about it—but we’ve all been there! Here are some hacks for stopping your overthinking habit in its tracks:  

  • Pay attention to the stories you tell yourself. How much of it is based on facts? 
  • Take other points of view into consideration (and realize that if someone is upset, it’s not necessarily because of you!). 
  • Learn the difference between your intuition and fear.
  • Be present in the moment. 

The truth is that most of our problems are the ones we create in our heads. Take a step back and try to look at the big picture. You’ll be surprised to find how many of your problems seem to disappear when you do.  

A yellow traffic sign reads, “Breathe.”

Take a breath.

You missed your alarm this morning. Your coffee order got messed up. You were charged $20 for missing a workout class that you forgot you signed up for. Yes, these things are annoying, but in this moment, you have a decision to make: Are you going to let this completely ruin your day? Or are you going to take control of your emotions? If you chose the latter, that’s great! That was a test and you answered correctly (go, you!). But how do you keep yourself from completely losing your marbles over small inconveniences?   

Take a breath. Seriously, take just a few seconds to inhale and exhale deeply to slow your heartrate down and lower your stress levels. Some of these breathing techniques might help get the job done, too! It seems funny, but this is one of the easiest, quickest ways to get your emotions in check.

There will always be things that go wrong … unfortunately, that’s inevitable. Some of those things are big and deserve all of our attention and emotions. But most of the time, the things we worry about are incredibly small.

It’s good to get into the habit of asking yourself this question: In 5 years, will this matter? If not, that’s what we would call “the small stuff.” And no matter how hard it is, let it go.

What's your go-to tactic for not letting small inconveniences control your life?

Share your answer in the comments below!
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66 Responses

  1. Thank You for this Blog. Learning to take captive of my thoughts and find the good in everything. God is in control and I turn it over to him!!

  2. Something I learned from Jocko Wilink in his book “Discipline Equals Freedom” is whenever any of his soldiers told him any bad news, he just replied “good.” So they don’t have enough resources? Good, they can learn to use what they have more effectively. So you woke up late? Good, you needed the rest. So you missed a deadline? Good, you can know your limits and set better boundaries with time.
    Now, anytime anything frustrating happens, I just say to myself, “Good.”

    1. I am going to do this too. I read Extreme Ownership but this never stood out to me before. Maybe I need to read it again. 🙂

  3. Verbally (out loud) giving up control of everything and everyone and taking a few minutes to speak truth out loud. Huge game-changer.

  4. So grateful for these blog posts! Thank you!
    Something I learned is to inhale for 4 seconds and exhale for 8 seconds. The longer time we take to exhale is what helps slow our heart rates down 🙂

  5. Thank you for this Blog post! I definitely needed it. I’m able to utilize this tool in my daily activities! One lesson I learn from this is always take a death breath when you’re out in an unexpected situation you should only worry about controlling the things you can. Great read!

  6. My favorite quote continuation for this is “Don’t sweat the small stuff. And it’s ALL small stuff.” I still occasionally get caught up in it but normally only when I am trying to fit into other people’s expectations, not reality.
    I kind of lost it a little today when after 4 days of trying to coordinate a large stamp purchase from my local post office I arrived for the purchase to find that they had sold over half my “order” to someone else because they had arrived before me and needed the same kind of stamps. My mailing needs to go out Monday and I’ve got to address and stamp 3000 postcards by then. I have helpers but MY expectation was that I would get my stamps this morning, coordinate to meet with my volunteers, and get everyone underway. 4 hours into trying to solve this kafuffle I literally was crying in my car. (So glad my order got here with Less Stress, More Yes in it)
    The good news is that I did get the stamps and I’m underway for organizing folks and whatever gets done by Monday will go out Monday and whatever gets done the next few days after will go out each subsequent day.
    When I adjust my expectations and remember that it is not going to ever be more than what it is and as long as I am doing my best then that is the most I should expect from myself, then the stress fades and I can move forward and accomplish the goal.
    I remember that the road to a goal is NEVER a straight line, no matter how much I plan. Breathe deep, Less Stress, and continue toward the goal.

  7. Letting go is a continuous part of growing throughout our life. It took me a longtime to realize that It truly is a process, not just saying the words. For me it begins by taking immediate action to seek the word, pray, bounce off someone trusted for perspective, apply what I can change and move on. Thanks for this blog, it’s great information. WW book list has been another game changer for me!!!

    1. Yes, it is truly a process! Thanks so much for reading. And we love that you’re enjoying the books, as well!

  8. Great blog! Love it! Sweating the small stuff is very easy so these tips are great. Thank you World Wide. You are amazing!

  9. I just have to say thank you for this. I am terrible at overthinking and worrying about the small things and big things in life. I needed this reminder!

  10. My go to is to consider people/countries/situations that are way way worse than mine to shrink my big immediate stuff to something so insignificant in the big picture it’s almost laughable or even laughable.

  11. If I am distracted by mind chatter (like my personal to do list), I will wrap it up in a box, put a bow on it and place it up on my imaginary shelf and open it later. I am a visual person so this scenario helps me. And to my surprise a good portion of the time I find the box empty (or at least not as full).

  12. Thanks for this post! I enjoyed reading. I remember one thing to let the small stuff go is by thinking (or better yet, saying), “I asked for this; I must have asked for a lot and I’m getting it; I asked for something of value which has been given to me”

  13. I try to not allow anything to steal my joy but sometimes it happens 🤩 Thanks so much for sharing! I’ll remember that. Blessings to all of WWDB

  14. Coping with anxiety is so hard! I’ve learned to look at mine like a friend. That is *very* passionate about keeping me extremely safe 😂 Cause that’s what that feeling is for! Safety. BUT…

    Some peoples anxiety is like that quiet friend that doesn’t talk much. And others are that really loud friend who dramatically embellishes things. Mine is the latter… lol. And – just like I wouldn’t always take a real friend like that so seriously- I take my anxiety one step at a time and remind myself that it’s just trying to take care of me. But I AM in control of how I respond to it. 😉 And I just tell them “chill out” you’re going to be fine. And I’ve GOT this. Have some faith in me 😂

    1. That’s right, you’re in control of your response! And you’ve definitely got this. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Great post! A large percentage of how we experience the world is through our attitude and thoughts:
    “I think, therefore, I am”
    Several strategies come to mind which often help me. Hope this helps others too:
    1) “Not my monkey, not my 🎪 circus”
    2) “Tragedy becomes comedy 🎭 with time and distance” (I often see the comedy in situations as they are unfolding.)
    3) I listen to a babbling brook recording on the Calm App and breathe.

    Thank you for this post.

  16. I focus on the good stuff, the positive and listen to myself. Great blog post tho, I learn something here. Thanks for sharing.

  17. I remember that slow is fast. If I slow down and evaluate my response and the remember the Goals that I’m focused on the small stuff stays small stuff. Then my response will be more appropriate to the situation.

  18. Thank you so much for this blog post!! Very grateful to have read it today!!!

    Go-to tactic: A lot of times when I feel stress/worry coming on, I say to myself, “life goes on”, breathe, and then find something positive or productive to focus on….life truly does go on whether you worry or not. Sometimes it’s hard and I’m not perfect, but I try my best to choose a happier/stress-free attitude to help me move forward!

  19. Omg!! This couldn’t have come at a better time. My brain, though a blessing, has been running at 100 mph over things that are not in my control and creating stories that aren’t necessarily there to keep me in a mood. Victim mindset you can say. After reading this blog post, I took a few deep breaths and stared to understand that I can’t control everything, to let go and to focus on what I can take care of. Thank you for this. It also helps my heart that is broken but in time it will mend. Thank you again!!

  20. A way I like to defuse little inconveniences in my mind is by remembering or even saying out loud why I am grateful for even be in the situation and/or role I am presented with. Instead of a why me? I like to ask why NOT me?

    This was incredible helpful. Thank you so much for all the work that is put together so that we may grow ourselves as individuals! LOVE these blogs!! Keep ‘em coming!! Can’t wait to receive and grow more. Love, a soon to be diamond thanks to your support!♥️💎♥️

  21. This is such a great read! One of my tactics is also stopping and breathing! I also have to ask if I can change what happened? Usually it’s a “No” then I think of what I can do next time something similar takes place. I used to get stressed about little things especially while driving but plugging in and listening to audios definitely help! Everyone should have a go-to list of pick-me-up audios. One of my favorites is WW745 Diamond Nuggets

    1. Exactly! No use getting worked up about the things you can’t change, right? And we love that you use audios to calm you down. Thanks for sharing!

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