“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
When you think about the future, are you filled with hope or worry? If you are like most people, it’s probably anxiety. You have largely been experiencing worry. Your mind feels unsettled.
Worry arises because you realize that you cannot predict what is going to happen tomorrow and know that you cannot have full control over how events turn out. You are uncomfortable with not having absolute certainty.
Incessant worrying happens when you find it hard to let go. You fret over the same details repeatedly. A fertile imagination causes you to play out mental scenarios of doom, failure, and fatal consequences over and over again.
I Was a Worry Wart
Well, I used to worry incessantly over the smallest of things. Before learning meditation, I did not know how to relax. Worry was my psychological mantra.
When my children were born, my anxiety levels went into over-drive. Were they eating enough? Were they having a happy time with their friends? Were they faring well in school?
I soon realized that I was not the only one. In talking with one of my girlfriends, I realized she was excessively worrying over her children, too. I noticed how tense she was. She was not fun to be with.
Eventually I knew that I needed to reclaim my sanity. Not doing so would mean continued misery. I realized that it was only when I could lose my back load of worries could I be light and free.
Once I made a commitment, I started looking into the true nature of my emotions. Even though I continue to have my worries, I am now better able to cope with them. I no longer obsess over every detail either.
Here is what I discovered.
What Worry Is
The mind likes to anchor itself to the known, which creates anxiety. Worry is a symptom of the deeper-rooted fear you experience when you have to tread into the unknown.
You prefer things to be predictable. You fear that any unexpected turn in events would throw your meticulous planning into disarray. The more energy you give to your fears, the more anxious you become.
In reality, all forms of worry represent an underlying lack of trust. You are unable to trust in the goodness of life. Even though things could turn out in a number of ways, you have a tendency to believe that things are going to turn out negative rather than positive.
Worry displaces. You become ungrounded. With your mind constantly in the future, it is difficult to be present. You lose the capacity to experience life in the here and now. With worry, you deny yourself the opportunity of living your moments in freedom.
Worrying causes you to leak energy. You feel low. You are more apt to complain about things and compare yourself with others, and you’re less likely to be rational. Excessive worrying can cause you to stifle your dreams.
Your relationships with others get affected, too. No one likes being near a prophet of doom and gloom.
Healthy Ways to Deal with Worry
It is important to recognize that uncertainty is a natural part of life. You cannot know with absolute certainty what is going to happen next. When you release your attachment to control, it’s easier to breathe.
Some people deal with anxiety by drinking, overeating, and turning to other bad habits. However, none of these are real solutions for worrying. The best approach is to learn how to deal with your anxiety in healthy ways.
1. Work it off.
Although exercise may not actually solve the issues that are causing you to feel anxious, engaging yourself in activity takes your mind off things. You become clearer after taking a break.
2. Address your fears.
Instead of suppressing your anxiety, it is important to face your fears head on. Ask yourself what is truly causing your anxiety. You may even find that your worries are mostly False Evidence Appearing Real.
Meditation helps your mind with needed breaks from all that clutter. The practice also helps you with greater focus. You find yourself experiencing increased clarity and less likely to worry over unnecessary things.
4. Stay hydrated.
Did you know that dehydration has been linked to depression? Just about every person has heard that it is important to drink enough water, but most people do not realize that their mental health actually improves when they are hydrated.
5. Change your perspective.
Energy flows where you focus your attention. Understand that you can choose to focus on positive rather than negative thoughts. In fact, as you become more positive, you’ll be better able to create more positive outcomes.
It’s hard not to feel bombarded living in modern times. You probably spend your days in a constant state of flux. Your heart beats a lot faster as a result. So set aside time to relax. You’ll find that your feelings of anxiety subside.
7. Seek help.
You may find yourself feeling worse and worse if you are unable to stop yourself from incessant worrying. It may be a good idea to seek counseling or to talk to someone who can help. Anxiety is very common. There is nothing to feel ashamed about when you approach for help.
The best way find relief from constant worrying is to learn to let go. Worrying does not bring you any closer to solving problems. In fact, it only makes it more difficult to find clarity.
Make a commitment to reducing your anxiety levels today. It starts with a simple choice.
Woman meditating image via Shutterstock