Worry Free

Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday – Was it really worth the worry?

I used to worry a lot. I would deny the fact that I invariably pick things to worry about. I loved to worry and it was probably one of the most frequent and most engaging things I did when I was tired of being busy with things that are positive, progressive and happy in my life. I guess this was easy to do as there are ample things I could pick to worry about. Work, the exhaustive what ifs, the mistakes I could make tomorrow, my immediate family, my extended family members, the future, the past, the polarized society, the politics within my country and other remote countries that I haven’t lived in or would probably ever will, and everything that doesn’t remotely concern me immediately or would affect my immediate life. And after whiling away precious and possibly productive ticking hours pondering about such things, I step back into the same world I tried escaping from a few hours ago and get back into the grind. Just another futile time wasting activity with no real productive function, yet refusing to rather engage in spending the time pondering ways to resolve issues that I can truly help make my life a lot more productive and easier.

People become attached to their burdens sometimes more than the burdens are attached to them. ~George Bernard Shaw

Many years ago I happen to grab a copy of Readers Digest at a Doctors Clinic to take my mind off the absolutely wonderfully annoying and inconsiderately polite communication skills of the receptionist.  Flipping through the pages after reading my favourite part, Laughter is the Best Medicine, I began reading an article about amusing facts of life that we seldom realize. Going down the list that read very much like Murphy’s laws, I had to stop and think a bit about one of the facts listed: A very high majority of the things we worry about almost never happen. It just made me smile realizing that it was absolutely very true. Knowing my heightened and gifted ability to pick anything to worry about, I began to mentally list the things I had worried about recently. And true enough, nothing ever did happen or remotely come true. Even the things that I had imagined how it may turn out to be that very day, never did play out as per my mental screenplay. The doctor disappointed me as well by not wearing the white coat as I had imagined her to be in. From that day onwards, my approach towards things that worry me was a lot different. I just do not bother to worry things anymore. I will think of what needs to be done if it ever happens, or let it make itself important enough to warrant my time. Instead, if there is an inevitable event that is going to happen, I spend time rather conjuring up ways to resolve, circumvent or deflect them.  I now prefer using my imagination and thinking developing solutions to matters that affect me directly to things that truly I can influence. Life has been lot calmer, productive and happier ever since.

Do not anticipate trouble or worry about what may never happen. Keep in the sunlight. ~Benjamin Franklin

As time and experiences have thought me, I have come to a strong belief of three simple facts about worrying.

1)      Worrying doesn’t help problems, choosing an action does. The action could be resolving, finding a solution yourself, seeking others help to solve or develop a solution for you, giving it some time to see if it resolves on its own, or if you are not “the” or the “only” person responsible to resolve this allow others to step up and take action.

2)      Many things that we conceive as problems often resolve themselves as people who are involved in them often develop a solution or a coping system themselves. You are not the owner of a problem just because someone asked you for a possible solution. Help if you can, but know that everyone has the same instincts and intelligence similar to yours when they are faced with problems. Allow them to worry a little. At times worrying is an excellent exercise for a lazy mind.

3)      You can only predict a rough idea about the future. Learn to embrace surprises and not all things that happen to you need immediate resolution or reaction. Things happen to you all the time. Every day has its share of little and big surprises. By confident that you can, will and are smart enough to handle it as and when it happens or you will deal with it at your pace and on your time as you deem fit. Mulling over solutions to problems is much more productive and better than working about the “what ifs?” You can only take a few rational and intelligent steps to avoid possible future problems, the rest is just simply unpredictable and inevitable.

There is always sufficient reason for despair, but there is never sufficient purpose. ~Robert Brault

If someone walked up to you and said that they are worried or someone you know if suffering from anxiety, what would you say to them or how would you help them? It is amusing how we can almost instantaneously offer advice and develop a process for others not to worry and yet we worry ourselves sick by not seeking our own intelligence or someone else’s for help. We all are natural survivors. If we weren’t we would not have come this far. We have sufficient natural instincts and core competencies built within us to survive progress and flourish. But we happen to choose the negative behaviours by default at times when we feel threatened by a situation. A little faith in our problem solving skills, intelligence and survival instincts can do a lot of good to challenge and face the surprises of tomorrow. When we worried about our exams, we began to study, when we worried about work we found a job, when we worry about relationships we work out a solution, etc. We almost always land on our feet all the time. Worrying has never helped and life is just packed to the brim with surprises. Some pleasant and some unpleasant, we can certainly face it as and when it happens and develop solutions or rely on our natural coping mechanisms.

Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow. ~Philip Gulley