How to Stop Worrying – Deepak Chopra

Worry is a prevalent habit, and since it is annoying rather than disabling, many worrywarts don’t recognize themselves as anxious. In fact, worriers often feel justified. Why not turn the car around to double check that you locked the door? Why not worry about global warming, terrorism, and all the other aspects of an unsafe world? Worry is anxiety backed up by excuses invented by the mind. Therefore, this is one aspect of anxiety where the mind must be taught to think in a different way. Convinced by its own beliefs, a worried mind will never abandon its habit.

The first of these beliefs is rather surprising: Worriers believe they are doing good. They feel that they are protecting themselves and others from danger. Since their minds are filled with every conceivable risk, worriers wind up being right some of the time. They are like hoarders who never throw anything out. If one hoarded item proves useful, it justifies keeping a hundred that aren’t. The worrier uses the same logic. They don’t see the obvious: worrying about ninety-nine useless things out of a hundred is a waste of time and emotion. Until they accept this fact, worriers will feel justified. Everyone but them knows that worry is far more harmful than helpful. It’s excessive. It annoys other people and makes them exhausted and impatient. Far from making a positive contribution, worriers slow things down, throw up needless obstacles, and increase anxiety in others. In the end, they usually wind up being shut out and ignored. In response to being ignored, they worry even more.

Worry is anxiety backed up by excuses invented by the mind.

Just as defeatism is a second belief: worriers feel that they need to worry. If this need isn’t fulfilled, they fear calamity. Who will keep things in one piece if they aren’t doing the worrying that is so desperately needed? This need is related to other kinds of obsessive behavior. It blocks deep insecurity by giving the mind a “solution” that feels convincing even though it is utterly false: the more I worry, the safer I will be. Clearly a worried mind must get out of its obsessive groove. To turn the mind around, it must be given better reasons to not worry than to worry. Here are some examples of what I mean.

Worried belief: The world is unsafe. It’s only natural to worry.

Better belief:
You can still be safe in an unsafe world. By making your personal situation safe, you add to the world’s overall security.

Worried belief: Life is full of accidents and random bad things. I have to be on the lookout for them.

Better belief:
Accidents can be prevented with useful measures like wearing a seat belt and not living in a flood zone. Once they are in place, there’s nothing more to do. By definition, unpredictable things cannot be foreseen.

Worried belief: I inherited the worry gene. I can’t help it.

Better belief:
I learned how to worry, so I can unlearn how to worry. It’s a habit rooted in my sense of insecurity. By becoming more secure in myself, I can gain control over my fears.

In addition, a recovering worrier should write down certain basic facts and consult the list regularly to see if their belief system is starting to match reality.

You aren’t helping the situation by worrying. You will be of greater help by pitching in on a practical basis.

You aren’t improving anyone else’s life by worrying about them. To improve their lives, be supportive and appreciative.

Not to worry is psychologically healthy. Non-worriers aren’t being careless or negligent.

Worry is a sign of deeper anxiety. It is healed by addressing that deeper level.

Worry is making you unhappy. This is reason enough to give it up.

Worry leads to bad decisions because they are colored by needless, unrealistic fears. If you want a better life, you need good decisions.

Deepak Chopra is one of the leading authorities in the field of mind-body medicine. He will be appearing at I CAN DO IT! in Sydney and Melbourne. For more info and tickets CLICK HERE.

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