Sources could be any – news, social conditioning, mental loops, perfectionism, immaturity, compulsive mental projections – but the fact is most of us have been affected by this addiction of worrying habit.
We worry endlessly about kids’ future, job security, un-occurred illnesses, past traumas and much more our imaginative mind may force into.
Sometimes we worry about having negative thoughts because of its ill effects on body and mind, and so constantly try to push hard any negative thoughts. This becomes another pain – not to let negative or worrying thoughts come to mind, call it worry of worries (quite common in intellectuals).
Let’s contemplate on worries, it’s causes and one main factor that underlies in all solutions to overcome the worrying habit. I won’t keep you in suspense – it is the power of trust.
Definitions and disadvantages of worrying habit
Few definitions revealing the structures of worry.
- Worry is to try to solve a problem that doesn’t exist and as a result, build anxiety pressure. Because how can any hypothetical problem be solved before it takes the form of real current situation.
- Trying to mitigate a risk and creating sometimes more pain in the process, much higher than the actual event for which the push-away-plan is being prepared.
- Knowing at a deeper level that it has less than 0.0000000001 % occurrence probability but driven through many intellectual fooleries like “why to leave any stone unturned”, “let’s plan and control the outcome to utmost precision”.
- Knowing it’s futile but can’t avoid thinking about it out of compulsiveness.
- Reaction triggers hearing negative news and projecting what would possibly I can do if that happens to me or my near and dear ones.
- Negative thoughts of recurring nature traumatizing mind with projections of helpless situations.
Clearly, from above definitions, we can figure out mostly three common factors –
1. Irrationality – lack of trust and value in what we know, not using intelligence and not trusting it enough.
2. Compulsiveness – Habitual aspect, repeating over and over create grooves in our brains.
3. Controlling outcome – attachment to the rigid outcome that too as per our current understanding and scope of little brain. We don’t remain open to possibilities other than the desired one and any apprehensions put us in rigid controlling mode. In such a state our actions are driven by worries.
Worries soak our energies, cripple us in thinking, and force us to wear a negative outlook towards the wonderous, eventful and ever alive universe. We forget we are here to live totally, celebrate and learn from every event and situation. Life is not meant for suffering silently and solving hypothetical problems endlessly.
Under worry influence, not only we fail to make new progress and build strengths but also leak on existing strengths and abilities. It accelerates aging and worry-prone persons generally look older than their biological age.
Underlying causes and solutions
There are three powers rendered to us by nature; power to know, power to act and power to trust. And every stream of power has limitations and place of use. To handle worries we got to use and develop the power of trust, and trust can not be replaced with actions or knowledge. Simply speaking, we can not get rid of worries if we gather more knowledge or put in more efforts. It doesn’t work that way, modern life is the proof.
Doing and knowing has some value with respect to worries but ultimately, in the end, we got to trust that the results will come when time is ripe and let go the control of future.
The deepest thing to comprehend in dissolving worries is trust and trust come from trusting only. However, we have a choice on what we should lay upon such an unshakeable trust.
Trust in Almighty
Worries and trust in God can’t coexist. Look at below 3 aspects of trust on HIM.
- God exists everywhere and knows everything, so knows our needs and intention too. By being everywhere and ever present HE is here and now too – with me now and always. Apparently, no reason to feel lonely and forsaken.
- God is all intelligent and all powerful – so can solve all problems spontaneously. No reason to worry or fear.
- God is not anyone’s private property and belongs to everyone, and would impartially take care of everyone. HE has mothered and fathered us till date safely so would do in future. HE is also mine, so why bother or build expectations from others.
If a believer does not experience freedom, worry free state, and not able to depend on HIM totally, then it simply implies, there is some tolerance for doubt in his trust. Removing this doubt and firming up the belief can dissolve worries forever.
Q. If we trust totally and leave everything to God then we may become lazy, inactive and under-performing. I have seen many who walk away from their duties in the name of trust on God.
No doubt those who are saving themselves from responsibilities are misusing trust. But we can pick up a point in this behavior too, that trusting makes them worry less and the reason why they become lazy is that earlier they were driven in their actions by worries and not by understanding or love. Moreover, harboring worries to drive out laziness is not the right approach to solve issues but a dangerous one.
For laziness or in general policy of action should be independent and driven from understanding, compassion or practical needs. We don’t have to do anything driven from fear, worry or greed. That binds us and makes us labor stressfully. Rather, do it because you love it; you consider it worthwhile for body and brain; because it will solve some problem of society; because it is your passion.
Definition of duty is – this is a valuable thing to do and we have strength and abilities to execute, and so we should do it. Duty has two aspects – it is valuable and doable. If something is valuable but not doable then we should leave it to nature to fulfill. That’s not our duty or else nature would have designed us that way or it may enable us in future. But unarguably, the undoable project is not our current duty.
The duty-driven policy of work keeps us away from laziness and avoids stressful situations too.
Trust in Self
This is a bit difficult to explain what it stands for but I will try.
Out body-mind has no independent existence and nor it is conscious as we are about self and aware of body and mind too. The consciousness of “I am” is coming from somewhere deep within, and this consciousness, that’s us, in reality, gets identified with the thought “I am this body and this body is mine” – this identification with thought is a fundamental mistake.
We come to know either all bodies and minds are ours or not even this one. All bodies and minds are undergoing constant change – series of birth and death – and consciousness remains intact in the all changeable processes. This trust, on the never-changing intuitive experience of self, loosens the identification and all its side effects – worries, fears, and greed. For example, we don’t worry about where there is no me/mine conditioning (the rest of the world), we only worry about us and our family as we are not identified with rest of the world.
Trust in Karma / Destiny
If we trust in the law of Karma and execute our duties sincerely then also we heal our worrying habit.
We trust our destiny fully to take care of future. We take destiny as the orchestrated super intelligent response from nature in return of our past Karmas.We trust law of Karma as all intelligent mechanism to weave our destiny to have needful lessons to grow and rewards to encourage, presented at the right time, not before nor after. By fulfilling our duties with available strength and helpful attitude future still appears unknown but not worrisome. We expect wellness and better tomorrows.
Handling Irrationality factor
Trust your own intelligence stemming from the past experiences
This is not necessary if we can develop any of the above three kinds of trust but helpful to tone down worries to some extent. Though, inherent design is based on trust and let go after a point in rational contemplation.
- See until today how well we have been cared and does this fact comfort us to trust in ever better tomorrows?
- Observe nature, how beautifully birds, dogs, and other animals life is supported. We have stored for so many years and blessed with brain and limbs then also we worry!
- Many times something that we desired didn’t happen but later on, we could connect dots to find a reason for it. This arouses trust in all intelligent universe that there is not going to be any random violence with us and any negative thought is a meaningless and habitual affair.
- Kill your future – it does not exist and there isn’t any use to dwell in future. Whenever it comes it becomes the present moment. Our Past gives us the compass, learning, and wisdom but future is unborn, unknown and uncontrollable and remains so forever. All we can do is learn from the past and give best in this moment and let go thoughts about future. Planning needs data from the past and is done in the present but projections and dwelling in future apprehensions are not even 0.001% useful. So we can go on training brain to ignore thoughts of future fully and trusting it to be the best. Future is born out of present so present leaves a blueprint for the future moment turning into the present moment. Taking care of present on the basis of wisdom is more than enough care we can possibly take. Taking extra care of life takes into controlling and interfering zone. For all practical purposes, we can take 15 mins planning breaks per day or an hour per week. Primarily we can train the brain to live a future free life. In this way, we can logically negate worries but it needs little courage and practice to get used to trusting such insights.
Q. At times we know that we should not be worrying and don’t want to do that but we get dragged into it? How can we handle that?
That’s what is called as the compulsive factor in worries and it’s addictive. Not trusting fully in God OR Self or Karma or our intuitive intelligence is the root cause, we need to handle that first. Do not take any action or decision in the worry-driven state of mind. Face it. Notice the feelings. Accept those also one of the future possibility but not the only option or a destined reality. Focus on using the current situation to best of our capability. Ultimately that is what we are going to do when future presents favorable situations. So we should that now and always – Focus on making the best use of current situation is the perfect recipe for better tomorrows.
Another thing that we may try to handle the compulsiveness of worries is developing some mental model or thumb rule that we accustom ourselves and train our brain with. I have used such mental models and managed myself out from many worries since college days. One such thumb rule is minimum clear space. We might be having some worry but apart from it still some clear space exist for next 5 mins, an hour, a day or a week is clearly visible and available.
So our job is to figure out quickly no matter how small but clear worry-free space. Push all your worries beyond that point, postpone them and this pushing and postponing lets us override the wave of urgency and compulsiveness of worrying habit. Secondly, live totally and freely in the minimum clear space, do your best and add depth to your life, which will create hope, thoughts of wellness and break the worrying patterns.
Gradually we hold the flow of attention from going into old loops and create new pathways – new neural networks. Having successfully avoided for few days or weeks we get the clue that it is possible and easy to avoid worries and nothing really bad ever happens.
One more thing came to my observation which is a matter of trust for you but just sharing. Having such lifestyle of joy and worry free zones create good feelings, add happy moments to life and as a result, we start getting a feel that something better is going to happen in future, some good surprises are waiting to unfold. No logic to support but I have experienced this in my life and observed in others too.
Call to Action
- We assume we trust in God / Self / Karma / inherent intelligence but worry reveals the fact that we are not doubtless. Trust is powerful only when unshakeable and total.
- Let go of the control of future, it doesn’t exist. Taking care of present and learning from the past is more than enough to live a quality life and serve others.
- Our past experiences prove our worries have gone waste, still, we continue to worry and doubt the all intelligent nature,
- Build some thumb rules to constrain the momentum of worrying habit. eg. creating minimum clear space.
- Just decide to be happy and spread happiness and positivity. Happiness and positivity preserve energy and attract happy times from environment.
- Accept negative thoughts too – acceptance dissolves negative thoughts and resistance makes them stronger and persistent.