“Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe.”
“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
— Mark Twain
Worry can truly be incessant: fear of making the wrong decision, of failure, of not being liked, or not doing the right thing, and consumes many of us. Not because we like it or think it is good for us, (or maybe we confusingly do think that!), but out of habit based on making misinterpretations in childhood. For whatever reason, we became conditioned to worry and it won’t go away without our counteracting it.
That means we need to “undo” the misappropriate habit that we unconsciously nurtured over time, and which gained momentum to continue its devastation to our health, peace, and sense of well-bein. And we must do this by taking our authority back and taking charge of our thoughts!
Without inserting a different thought structure, worry will continue to haunt us. And know that the momentum we have given to our mind, which become so worrisome, will only gain more power unless we nip it in the bud every time it shows its face.
One way of reversing the momentum of worry is by focusing on other things; positive things like appreciation, all the good in your life, and even your physical senses ― instead of allowing your mind to run uncontrolled. Actually, when you notice yourself worrying about something, tell yourself to “come back to your senses,” like connecting to your breath, you bodily sensations, your smell, taste or touch. You have power and authority over your thoughts, but the muscle of taking charge needs to be developed and exercised.
The practice of meditation is also a great boost to changing the worry behavior for a number of reasons, including learning to be an observer and a witness to what is going on. When you notice yourself not being run by them, you are back in charge. Also, the practice of meditating slows down thought energy, and you gain greater awareness about what’s going on “in your head.” That awareness translates into better or wiser decisions you are about to make.
Meditation also leads to living a more “mindful” life, in which you are able to give your attention to what’s happening in the moment. And thus able to choose and act more wisely. For example, when I really became aware of how certain foods and drinks were making my body feel, it was easy to give up alcohol and greatly diminish my intake of coffee simply because the temporary “payoff” was not nearly as good as feeling much better all the time.
We are typically taught in early stages of meditation to focus on our breath, which will give you greater ability to focus your attention and improve concentration. But there are other ways to bring mindfulness into your day. Here are two more to give your attention to anytime during the day, not just in meditation:
- When practicing calm acceptance during meditation, you will develop a brain that is more resilient to stress.
- And if you meditate while cultivating feelings of love and compassion, your brain will develop in such a way that you spontaneously feel more connected to others.
(The above information was excerpted from Your Brain on Meditation by Kelly McGonical, PhD, best-selling author and health psychologist. For more information, check out www.mindful.org)
Remember, when you focus on being more mindful, you are not focusing on worrying, and after a while worry energy will simply fade away. Also, when you begin to start worrying about something, notice what was in your mind and feelings at the time. That is, the energy “vibration” you were sending to the Universe, which was your “receiving mode” for whatever came back to you. It is one of the Laws of Nature: this one being the Law of Attraction, which is really an impartial law regarding the way Life works: energy attracts back to itself like energy. It’s so simple, really: if you want to attract good things into your life, feel and think good feeling thoughts, which translate into the energy you are broadcasting to the Universe!
Shifting the momentum and turning it back into your favor is about becoming immediately aware when the worry habit begins, and taking charge of one thought at a time. No need to worry about changing your whole mind — just deal with one thought at a time! This process is called “pivoting,” like when a basketball player pivots on one foot and goes in the opposite direction. The key here is to recognize immediately when the worry starts, and to tell that thought to “back off!” Say to the thought, “I’m in charge here, and right now you are not welcome!”
Worry has little power over you, especially when you are filled with self-worth versus self-doubt. To lesson your anxious and reactive thoughts and feelings caused by worrying about a future scenario, practice acknowledging yourself more and honoring your achievements in the moment. Basically you need to decondition your worry response by honoring the basic and eternal goodness of who you are as a dignified and confident human being. Honor every small win with a simple pat on the back, reminding yourself “I did that!” You were born with a full and complete bucket of self-worth that got depleted over time by worrying about stuff ― most of which never and will never happen! So fill your bucket back up by remembering and honoring your own goodness!
Finally, remember what truly matters in your life . . . it’s not the bank account, the house or car you drive, your status, or your job. In those cultures where people live longer and enjoy more peace-filled lives they report that their happiness is about family and being part of a community; sharing, connecting, and helping others; loving someone; and being thankful for having what you are already blessed with and not focusing on what’s missing.
Being happy is simple, really. Start with an inspired commitment to give up worry and focus on what truly matters. Slow down the mind through meditation and re-connect to your Wholeness and inherent Goodness ― which is your birthright. Take charge of your thoughts, interrupt worry, and insert happy feeling thoughts into your mind . . . and soon enough the momentum of worry will shift to become a momentum of gratitude and joy!
Become the Master Your Mind to Live Stress Free!