Worrying about what ‘could be’ keeps you from living effectively. To discover your next steps, start with what’s in front of you then move forward one step at a time. And above all: don’t be afraid to stray from the path.

The fear that results from anticipation and transition often keeps us trapped in lives, careers, and relationships that are unfulfilling and even harmful. The self-preserving reluctance we have toward change is understandable. Major life changes – whether they result from our own choices or are forced upon us – create significant levels of stress, especially when the future is unknown.

If you’re like many of us who have sought a new life plan or career transition, the following will probably sound pretty familiar:

  • My boss doesn’t value me, but who’s to say it will be different elsewhere?
  • I want to work for myself, but what if I fail?
  • I’m not getting my needs met, but what will my life be like without a relationship?
  • What do I do now that the kids are in college?
  • I want to be more active and healthy, but I feel so tired and exhausted all the time.

Without question, the above transitions can be frightening. Often encompassing intellectual, emotional, physical and spiritual components, these major life changes are highly complex because they set us on a path of self-discovery.

But studies show that laughter alleviates stress, providing both short-term and long-term benefits.

So the next time you find yourself ‘in your head’ and are worried about the future, take an hour to decompress. Spend time with an uplifting friend. Watch a favorite movie or some YouTube cats. Your decisions will be clearer. You’ll envision the results from a more positive (and accurate) point of view. And, most importantly, you’ll enjoy the process – which is how your life should be. Letting go for an hour never hurt anyone.