If you ‘want’ to stop worrying, that ‘want’ may become a new worry!
“How can I stop worrying,” asked a reader over Facebook Messenger. “I have tried meditation, prayer, physical exercise, but I am unable to get rid of my sense of insecurity and worry. I feel miserable,” she added.
I have a simple take on this. You cannot stop worry from arising in you. You can only postpone worrying by being aware of what you are thinking.
Let us understand why you worry in the first place. You worry about things, people, events, money, health, relationships, your job, because you want them in your control or you want to know more about them or both. And when you are unable to do any of that, you worry. You say that you want a job. Is that a worry? Hardly. Will you get that job? Now, that’s a worry: because you want to control the outcome of your want and you want information about the future. My wife has gone to meet a friend. Is that a worry? Not really. But who is that friend? It is this greed for the detail, for that information, that will spawn a worry. And then the issue is no longer about the wife meeting the friend, it is about the gender of the friend and then it morphs into another, new, nagging worry: is my wife cheating on me?
Next, understand that in the time that you spend worrying, you are missing living! You cannot do both at the same time. You can either live. Or you can worry. If you are worrying, be sure, you may be alive, breathing, seeing and doing, but you are not living! The nature of the human mind is that it will keep churning out thoughts incessantly and most of them will be about your worries. If you want to stop worrying, then that want may now become a new worry!
How do you contain this human urge to want to control what’s going on and/or keep seeking information on what’s going on? The simple truth is, you can’t. So, wanting to stop worrying is an improbable vision to begin with. What you can do, however, is to be alive, live fully! When you are filling out your job application, for instance, why do you worry about the outcome of the effort? Focus on the application you are preparing. Pour your heart into it. Postpone any worries that may arise. Don’t let your mind wander. Bring it to attend on the only, supremely important, singular task at that moment in your Life, the job application. You will never enjoy a sunrise if you keep thinking about your nightmares. Even if you are at the most beautiful resort in the Pacific, you will not even see the sun rise if you are not present in that moment.
The cure to worrying is like the cure to diabetes. Once a diabetic, always a diabetic. At best, you can astutely manage your diabetes with your strict diet and exercise regimen. Even a day’s, or even a meal’s complacency or indulgence, can spike your sugar levels. So it is with worrying. You cannot stop worrying. Period. But you can always postpone worrying by starting to live fully. When you live, in the present, no worry can plague you! That’s why I say don’t try to stop worrying, instead postpone it, by being alive, by living fully!