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Combat Worrying

By Frhazda Munir

'We could never learn to be brave and patient if there were only joy in the world'

Helen Keller

We worry about problems, but worry is itself a problem. It inhibits clear thinking, it drains us of energy, it upsets our sleep and our digestion. It can make us irritable, bitter, regretful, pessimistic, depressed... What a price to pay for something that serves no useful function.

We learned to worry at a young age, but they were childish fears, but those childish fears carried on to adulthood. Worrying is about control, we all have a vision of how we want things to be, but when things or situations do not turn out as we expected we feel helpless and overwhelmed by an unpredictable and unkown future. We find it hard to let go of a problem, which then starts to contaminate our mind and thoughts. The truth is that we are our own worst enemy and many of our troubles are inside our head. We put the stamp of who we are on every preception. We see the world from the viewpoint of ourselves and in doing so our emotions and fears blurr our vision.

Worry makes cowards of us all. It forces us to turn away from acting upon a problem or indeed it may even create the illusion that the problem doesn't exist in the first place. Worry pushes us back into ourselves, reinforces the impression that the worst will happen, that we can't cope, that we are helpless in the flow of circumstances which carry us inexorable towards unhappiness.

All of us who have worried have become experts in it over the years. But worry itself is cunning, it is a distorting lens which hides from us the lessons it is teaching. It causes us to see an opportunity as a risk and a challenge as a problem.

Problems are often created and imposed upon us by other people or rather, by our inablility to prevent other people from loading that weight of trouble on our shoulders. We habitually and implicityly say 'yes' to problems, because many of us do not have the coping techniques to assert 'no'. Manuel Smith's 'When I Say No I Feel Guilty' is a useful and empowering book on assertiveness.

Potentially we have a great deal of control over the way we talk to ourselves. But frequently, the bleak melody of worry runs in our minds as a kind of background noise to our lives. The irony is that we don't even make an effort to eliminate it, but just listen to that same old tune of hopelessness and gloom. But by establishing a coping dialogue we can diminish and dispel the tedious repetitiveness of worry. Take time out every day to give yourself a pep talk. Be upbeat, confident, determined. Simply tell yourself with as much conviction as you can muster that you are going to take deliberate action to achieve what you can and refuse to be troubled by circumstances that are beyond your control.

Below are some tips on how to control your worring. I know from experience that this is not an easy thing to do, but with a little patience and perserverance you will soon be able to control your worrying instead of it controlling you.

Think about what is worrying you, and ask yourself what possible action you can take to aliviate the problem. Then take that action immediately.

To bring harmony into your life is to accept that some things are quite beyond our control. As the saying goes 'Change what you can change and accept what you can't'.

Worry thrives on inactivity and lack of choice, it lies coiled in quiet places. So launch yourself into a busy routine of work and leisure, by keeping your mind occupied on other things will give it less time to worry.

Worry also thrives on delay and procrastination, so take action against anything that worries you, put the same energy in solving problems as worrying about them and sufference will soon be a thing of the past. When you have taken all possible action then remember to let go of the problem.

Failure is an attitude, a state of mind. It is not reality. Cultivate a postive attitude and affirm to yourself your intention to succeed.

Worry closes doors and narrows horizons, its a fruitless activity but tenacious in the grip it has on our minds. So you have to be alert for positive opportunities.

The world isn't what we see, but what we think we see. And the way we see it determines the degree of happiness we enjoy each day. So start looking at life more positively, this isn't always easy to do but by forcing your mind to think positively it will eventually become a habit.

Our days can be problem-ridden, each problem bringing with it the burden of worry. But to know that a problem is a preception is already to have divested ourselves of some of its weight. Problems left unchecked flower in the mind but properly regarded, they are diminished, and we are free to invest our time and energy in living, rather than in profitless worrying.

In most cases, for most of the time, problems are simply thoughts in the imagination, without necessarily any firm basis in external reality. Worrying is a waste of our precious time, we cannot control events or circumstances, we can only do our very best in trying to solve the problem. So instead of using up your energy in worrying, use the energy to take action.

Worry is a guest which has stayed to long. It moves in invitied, and by its presence claims the right to stay. It is unwelcome, unwanted, burdonsome. And the irony of it all is that it creeps into our lives while we're still living there. Go in there and kick worry out. Take extreme measures - take any measures you know will succeed.

Some people will go to enormous lengths to avoid doing something they find embarrassing or difficult, tedious, unfamiliar, new. The trouble is that many problems just don't go away by themselves. In procrastinating, we hold ourselves back. We may wish the problem had never happened. But it has. And the only way through to a trouble free tomorrow is to tackle those troubles today.

Worry makes us think things can never change - except to get worse. While worrying, we can't solve the problem or enjoy the other aspects of our life, which might not be linked with the problem at all.

'The pearl is lovelier than the most brilliant of crystalline gems, because it is made through the suffering of a living creature...' - H. G. Wells


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