Monday, September 12, 2011

Are You Practicing the Worry Habit?

Did you know that worry is a habit? Worry is a form of thinking that can be stressful if taken to extremes. Key features of worry are that it is repetitive and non-productive.

Myth about worry:

* Worrying is caring

* Worrying is being open to many possibilities

* Worrying is being involved in the outcome

* Worrying helps in solving the problem

* Worrying keeps us in control

* Worrying is being responsible

We could continue the list.  To me the worrier feels helpless. When we feel put in a corner we often don’t see any way out.  Last year I wrote a blog on comparing a predicament to a problem.

What it come down to is this: How much can I live in the present moment?  As Dr. Wayne Dyer describes it:

“Worry is a technique we created to fill the moments of our life.”

I recently read a book: How to StopWorrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.

If I had any doubts before that worrying is fruitless this book convinced me completely.  Based on countless peoples’ testimonies, Mr. Carnegie formulated rules which applied to everyday living, that can one can “cure” oneself of the worry habit.  I am amazed how many people worry themselves sick.  This sickness cannot be cured by taking any pills (even though it may cover up temporary symptoms).  From housewives to business tycoons, he accounts for people’s experiences on how to expel the worry habit for good. 

He sums up his advice in 3 points:

* Ask yourself what could possibly be the worst outcome?

* Accept that problem mentally.

* Concentrate on the difficulty and see how you can improve on your crisis which you already accepted mentally (Face the situation and act on it).

“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
~ Reinhold Niebuhr

Another writer who gives great advice on how to get rid of the worry habit is Dr. Wayne Dyer.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer says worry is a technique you created to fill the moments of your life. Get his 5 suggestions for eliminating worry from your life.

What is worry? Dr. Dyer defines it this way: Worry is the act of becoming immobilized in the present moment as a result of things that are going, or are not going, to happen in the future.

The key words here are "present moment." Worry, then, is a technique you have created in order to use up the "now" moments of your life, rather than choosing to use these precious, present moments living a fully functioning, happy life.

Everything that has ever happened to you did not happen in the past—it happened in the present moment. And everything that will ever happen to you will not occur in the future—it will take place in the "now" as well. So every moment you elect to spend in worry is your way of using up your "nows" by not being fully present in your life.
Your worry list can be long indeed: your health, your family, the economy, your security, your job, etc. All of it is a means for you to occupy your mind here and now as an excuse to avoid living. A worrier sits around and thinks about things and remains inactive, while a doer refuses to occupy the precious, present moments of his/her life and sets aside futile mental activity.

1. Begin to view all of your present moments as times to live, rather than to obsess about the future. When you catch yourself worrying, ask yourself, "What am I avoiding now by using up this moment with worry?" Then begin to take action on what you are avoiding.

2. Recognize the preposterousness of worry. Ask yourself over and over, "Is there anything that will change as a result of my worrying about it?" For example: Will my worrying affect the stock market? Will my worrying affect the weather? Will my worrying affect whether or not my child has an accident?

3. Give yourself shorter and shorter periods of "worry time." Designate 10 minutes in the morning to worry—and when that time period is up refuse to worry until your afternoon worry segment.

4. Make a worry list of everything you worried about yesterday or last year, and then see if your worrying did anything to affect the outcome.

5. Keep in mind the most useful advice I can give you for eliminating worry from your life; I learned it a long time ago from a teacher I had in India:

It makes no sense to worry about the things you have no control over, because if you have no control over them, it makes no sense to worry about them. And also, it makes no sense to worry about the things you do have control over, because if you have control over them, it makes no sense to worry about them. And there goes everything that it is possible to worry about. Either you have control or you don't, and worry is just a waste of your precious, present moments.

Dr. Wayne W. Dyer is an internationally renowned author and speaker in the field of self-development. He's the author of more than 30 books, including the New York Times best-seller Excuses Begone! How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits.

From Oprah’s website:

 "Inch by inch, life's a cinch;
yard by yard life is hard;
mile by mile, life's a trial."

Another very interesting observation was made by Tim LaHaye in his book The Battle for the Mind.  Mr. LaHaye points out that in today’s multi-media, open society we are constantly bombarded with pictures of tragedy, war, catastrophe, health crisis, pornography, and many other negative images.  The mind feeds on these images and can build up a reality in our mind which is emotionally and intellectually stimulating.  That is very overwhelming, especially for a worry mind.

On our long journey of life we encounter many choices; worrying is one of these options we are given freely.  Once we learn more about the power of the mind, and we understand that the mind has three different functions which are: intellect, emotion and will we can make better use of it.  From there we can conclude that we can fill our life with worry, fear and anxiety or we can choose happy thoughts, joyful images and loving feelings.

If we can fill our mind moment by moment with positive stuff we can live a more constructive life.

1 comment:

Yusun said...

an interesting comment about how worrying interferes with the present moment, even though the present moment is all that we can control anyways (why do we do that to ourselves?)... you and dad have helped me not to practice the "worry habit" by living in the present moment. thanks. :)