Stop The Worry!
“When you begin to worry, go find something to do. Get busy being a blessing to someone; do something fruitful. Talking about your problem or sitting alone, thinking about it, does no good; it serves only to make you miserable. Above all else, remember that worrying is totally useless. Worrying will not solve your problem.” ~ Joyce Meyer
I love Joyce Meyer! Her ministry is very valuable to me personally and if you have never heard her speak or read her books you should make time to do so.
The mind is such a powerful tool. The mind, if used rightly, can help us craft and shape our lives in a loving, beautiful and meaningful way. Used wrongly however it can be very destructive, damaging our level of confidence, our relationships and the quality of our lives.
In this powerful video, Alan Watts, who in my opinion is one of the most inspiring people I have come across, speaks about the importance of letting go of worry and compulsive thinking. A really powerful and inspiring message.
Worry is like a bamboo forest or that weed that won’t die! Once acquired, the habit of worrying seems hard to stop. We’re raised to worry and aren’t considered “grown up” until we perfect the art. Teenagers are told: “you’d better start worrying about your future”. If your worries aren’t at least as frequent as your bowel movements, you’re seen as irresponsible, childish, aimless. That’s a “responsible adult” game rule. To the extent that worrying is learned/conditioned behavior, it can be undone.
The “How-To” on ending the Worry Game:
- The Worry Sheet: There’s a useful gimmick to help stop worrying. You simply cultivate the habit of postponing worrying. Your mind becomes (re-)conditioned to not dwell on worries in the present. The trick is that whenever you feel plagued by a worrying thought, note it down on a “worry sheet” (a piece of paper set aside for the purpose) – you can then forget about it, knowing that you plan to worry later. This simple technique can be very effective because your mind is “fooled” into thinking that you haven’t given up worrying. Meanwhile, you lose the habit of worrying in the present moment. You can plan to revisit noted worries at a time when you’re worry-free. Or you can postpone worries indefinitely. That might sound bizarre, but then so is the notion that you must experience endless unhappiness (or worrying) before you’re allowed to be happy. More likely is that when using this technique you will simply forget your original worries – they will never have bothered you.
- Take Time to Clear Your Head: Even the most overworked adult can find half an hour once a week to set aside for quiet meditation and reflection. Meditation is a powerful technique for organizing your thoughts and feelings, and all it requires is a quiet spot without many distractions. Sit comfortably and focus on your breathing until the rest of your thoughts become quiet. That way, you can go over them without feeling overwhelmed by them. Personally I check out completely and go to a yoga class!
- Be Rational: We worry about things we have limited control over, such as whether or not we got a new job (after an interview) or what a new acquaintance really thought of us, or will out mentally ill loved one have a good night or bad day. These worries are hard to help completely, even though it’s obvious that worrying won’t change their outcomes. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do your best to remind yourself not to worry. Make a conscious effort to focus your attention elsewhere, and let events take their course as best you can.
- Change things Up: Pick anything you’ve always wanted to do, want to do better, or want to start doing again, and give it a shot. The things you try don’t have to be flashy, or significant to anyone except you. You could take up a new hobby, such as knitting or martial arts, or you could just make a commitment to smile more often at work. The goals you set are yours to attempt and achieve. Pursue anything you’ve ever wanted to pursue. You’ll be delighted with the results more often than not.
- Live in the Moment: Don’t obsess about the future; instead, focus on living in the present. It’s fine to plan ahead sensibly and set goals, but the important thing is living your life as it is now, and not worry about what is already past or what the distant future might hold.
- Count Your Blessings: Like most old adages and proverbs, this one gets repeated ad infinitum because it’s actually very wise advice. Set aside your resistance to clichés for a moment and think about all the advantages you have. You’re reading this article on the Internet, which means you either have or can borrow Internet access. It also means you can read, which is something not everybody can do. All but the most hopeless and pitiable lives have an abundance of good in them. Find yours, and remind yourself to be grateful for it every day. Have an Attitude of Gratitude! I also list what I am grateful for on a regular basis. Sometimes it is as simple as I slept for more than four hours or the sun was shining!
- Trust Yourself: At the end of the day, there are some things that nobody can really control: weather, death, natural disasters, and other such unstoppable forces are a part of life on Earth. Learn to place faith in your own ability to handle them. You can’t change the way such things behave, so all you can really do is to prepare for them, and to trust in yourself to do what you can when faced with them. And, make a conscious effort to remind yourself that other people, like you, are more capable than they realize, and that you don’t always need to be there for everyone at every turn.