Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, but only saps today of its strength. A.J. Cronin
Strange as it may seem, many of us worry because the pain of worry seems to offer an axis around which one can go in circles and feel that we have actually done our bit to stem the tide. Unfortunately we fail to realize that in the process we have expended our energies, have not really changed the reality that stares at us and if anything we have just compounded our worries by wasting the present moment. Assume we have an exam coming up and we have squandered away our time. Suddenly the reality of the exam date looms ominously ahead and instead of at least attempting to salvage the situation if we panic and brood and worry about our performance and fate, we would only have made a bad situation worse.
To cope with worry, we need to see the bright side of a hopeless situation and the get busy with our work today. Both these are tough especially when the Damocles sword of an impending worry is looming over our head. Seeing the bright side of a hopeless situation is a paradox in itself because hopelessness means a dark and bitter reality ahead. The brightest aspect of it is that at some point it will be over and done with. There could be other small but significant happenings like someone in dire pain lapsing into a comma where there will be no pain or failure helping one to switch tracks a decision which we longed for but didn’t dare to take. The key is to find straws of hope to clutch on to without turning those straws into steel ropes to latch on to and clamber out. One worry that is hard to overcome is the ‘what only if ‘syndrome. Take the case of a student who loses his rank by one mark. He/she can keep ruing that one silly mistake or the one question not studied well but the reality will not change. Or take the case of a person who is on the final question of ‘who wants to be a millionaire’ and chances his. her luck and fails.
If we can see the bright side of the future and to that extend minimize our worries, then we need to turn our focus on keeping busy. This is not to say one needs to engage in worthless and futile work rather one has to divert our positive energies into ensuring that w do our current jobs well. By being busy, our mind is occupied and will not stray and catch the worry bug. At the same time, we would achieve some of our personal and professional goals, have no regrets about wasting our time and efforts and the net result is that we remain fit and agile. Where we really stumble is when do a tardy job, turn out shoddy work and pass the blame on to our worries and anxieties. In the lexicon of the brave and the pragmatic person, today is what counts for the opportunities and the time will never come again no matter what the reality will be tomorrow. Ask if we can we be concerned about the problem rather than worry about it?
Remember: There is a great difference between worry and concern. A worried person sees a problem, and a concerned person solves a problem.” Harold Stephens
- Make a list of 10 worries and assign 100 marks to be distribute amongst those worries with the highest marks going to the worry that we are most anxious about. Focus on the top three worries and orient yourself to be concerned about finding a solution.
- Ask yourself if more than 3 of the following traits are frequently exhibited by you, for then that shows signs of a person who worries too much.
- Frequent negative thoughts
- Constantly complaining, cribbing, whining
- Do you get easily angry and enraged?
- At the first signs of uneasiness do you consult a doctor?
- Are you obsessed about things eg. Children’s exam marks/ punctuality/ neatness / rituals
- Do you hate it when your carefully laid plans go awry and your schedule is upset?
- In a crowd if the focus of attention suddenly shifts to you do you feel very foolish/ sheepish/ disturbed/ irritated ?
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