What-me Worry? Meditate it away. |le Minh Puong |unsplash.com

Control your Worry.

“Unease, anxiety, tension, stress, worry–all forms of fear–are caused by too much future, and not enough present. Guilt, regret, resentment, grievances, sadness, bitterness, and all forms of non-forgiveness are caused by too much past, and not enough presence.”–Eckhart Tolle.

We worry about everything.

 As humans, we worry about everything. How Do I Look? Am I too fat or too thin? Do they like me? Did what I say make sense? How does my voice sound? Is it confident, commanding, or just run of the mill? Are we going to have a test? How will I do? Did I study enough? Did I save enough for my retirement? Are my children going to turn out ok when I am gone? Do I need a new phone or just want one? Is my car cool enough. Is my dress too revealing? And the list goes on and on. But we can train our mind to stop worrying so much. We gain nothing by worrying about the past. We can’t change it. Nor should we worry about the future. What we are worrying about may never happen. We just need to live fully in the present.

What is worry, really?

Merriam Webster says worry is “mental distress or agitation resulting from concern. The concern is usually for something impending or expected.” Much of the negative worry and stress we feel comes from worrying about the future. To the extent we worry about the future, we are wasting our energy. Most of the future events we worry about never come to pass. And those that will don’t need to be concerning us until they come closer.

Worry is really like a dog gnawing on a bone from the butcher. Once he starts, he never stops. And like the bone as it gets smaller and smaller, we are diminished by worry. Our brains and bodies no longer function as they should. We become a mess and if we don’t stop it, we can move into paranoia. So, what do we worry about? 

Events that are coming soon that we thinking about fall into a category of anticipating obstacles or problems so we can develop effective strategies to overcome the obstacles. 

Worry about the past is a waste of time and energy. So far, no one has built a working time machine so I can go back and fix the past things I shouldn’t have done. They are skeletons that should remain locked in your closet. Until it becomes possible to change them they are over and done with. Focus your thoughts and energy on the present.

What does worry cost you?

 Worry affects our lives. It distracts us from the present. When we are not paying attention to the present, we can have accidents that result in lost body parts. (I cut off my finger with the power saw.) Accidents could occur when we drive that result in the death or dismemberment of others. Worry raises our stress and blood pressure levels. Also, extreme levels of worry may lead to anxiety and mental disorders. Worry drains our energy. When we worry we give up control of our brain and ability to think. We may worry so much that we become unable to take part in the world.

How to manage You and stop Your Worrying

The Only Reality Is Now: Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift. That’s why it is called the present.–Alice Morse Earle.

 Alice Morse Earle tells us not only do we not need to worry about the future, but we also have to give up worrying about the past. We can’t change it. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else. I can think of things in my past that I should have (a key indicator of something you need to release) done and things I would like to do over. But we can’t change history. All we can do is learn from it. How do we keep from repeating the mistakes we made over again?

 The best thing we can do to manage worry is to live in the now. Be present and take part in what is going on around you, not what is going on in Washington.

 Practice Mindfulness- Mindfulness helps you focus on what is going on around you. You spend more time thinking about the present and less about the past and future. Be present in the now. It’s all we have. 

 Practice a Breathing Meditation- Something as simple as breathing in and out while paying attention to the air entering and exiting your lungs is very relaxing. It will take your mind off your worry. This is one of the best ways to move from thinking about one thing to restarting your thinking about something else. So, if are worrying about something, stop and breathe before moving on. 

 Express Gratitude- If you write in a journal daily (highly recommended) be sure to write things you are grateful for today. Again, this takes your mind off worry and allows you to refocus on the positive things in your life. Say a kind word. Tell people thanks for what they do.

 Live fully in the present. Think before you respond in almost every situation- sometimes you just need to run. The past is over with, and the future holds you know not what. When you focus on the present, you take action one step at a time. It will surprise you how far you can get. When you are with someone listen intently. Be present, don’t follow a stray thought. Pay attention to those you are with.

“Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.”–Leo F. Buscaglia.