I asked people how they overcame worry -here’s what they said

When it comes to worrying, everybody has their own technique to dealing with it. Unfortunately, the technique that the majority of people choose to use in this day and age is the one that buries the worry.

At the core of dealing with worry is acknowledgment, because acknowledgment is needed to bring your troubles before the light. Once you bring your troubles before the light you’ll discover the beauty of perspectives. When you focus solely on burying your troubles and worries you lack the presence of perspective and you are at that point only able to ask yourself the question “what if”? In dealing with worry, the question “what if” is the definition of evil, as it only amplifies your worries repeatedly in the circle of inevitable mental meltdown. Well, once you gain the power of perspective, you’ll be able to ask yourself the question “so what if”? You’ll move a step beyond the core, a step closer to the path that is accept.

Accept cannot appear without acknowledgment because you cannot go from A to C without having first gone from A to B. After walking the path of accepting the possible consequences of your worries by posing the question “so what if”, it’s time to now act. It’s time to act and ask yourself the final question “so… what now”? The end of your path beyond your worries splits in two, and you’ll have to face a choice. Fall back into the darkness, this time even deeper, and once again ask yourself repeatedly “what if”, or continue towards the light and make the choice to actively act towards dealing with your worries once and for all.

I asked 6 people on the questions and answers forum Quora how they personally dealt with worry. Here’s what they said:

Kelly Schweighsr

Kelly Schweighsr has a clever system she uses to deal with worry. First of all, she always starts off by taking a step back and realizing that 95% of the things she has ever worried about never ended up happening. Then, she puts a time limit on worry, no matter what she might be worrying about. For bigger situations, Kelly only lets herself worry for a maximum of 5 minutes and for less serious worries she only gives herself 60 seconds. Within that period of time, she focuses only on the worry and plays out every single negative outcome. Almost like letting yourself punch a punching bag for a specific period of time, going all out and then completely stop hitting the bag when the time ends. Kelly says that you should spend this short amount of time to “Revel in your worry! Drown yourself in it! And then, when you have worried for the appointed amount of time, simply stop worrying”. Five concentrated minutes of worry is probably better than one minute of worry five times throughout the course of an entire day.

Timmy Pitcock, Former convict

Timmy Pitcock deals with worry by finding comfort in religion. He believes that “worry is a lack of faith in a positive result for a situation”. Timmy believes that God doesn’t look at what we do as humans, but instead “the foundation that moves our heart”. That way, we need not worry if we know that our deepest intent, no matter the situation we are worrying about, is pure and positive.

Adrian Low, Psychologist

Adrian Low believes we should deal with the negative by drowning it in positive. He believes that worry is a form of rumination and that the opposite of rumination is meditation. Adrian says that by engaging in mental activities such as focusing on the breath, sounds and positive thoughts will leave no room for rumination. “Constantly feed[ing] the mind with positivity instead of chewing negativity will eliminate worry”.

Lewis Nakao, Software Engineer

Lewis Nakao bases his worry-fighting theory on the philosophies of the Japanese religion Tenrikyo. Within Tenrikyo, he says, there is a term called Hinokishin. According to Hinokishin, the body we have as humans is not owned by us but instead borrowed by a holy being. Therefore, Hinokishin basically symbolizes the fact that we should be grateful and joyful for just being alive, and that our actions in life should be based on this thought. Exactly to this point, Lewis Nakao notes that “reminding myself that I should be grateful for having a healthy body reduces my worries and makes my other worries not be such an issue”. Whatever we have in life — whether it be a healthy body, a place to stay or just the ability to get up in the morning — the majority of us have the ability to smile by choice. Once we realize that we are lucky just to be alive, we should choose to smile, because in that moment we should also realize that our possibilities life are endless. Gratitude equals freedom.

Rob Hanna, Innovation Architect

Rob Hanna says that feelings are something we can freely choose to change, or not, at any time. Instead of being controlled or reactive to internal feelings, Rob believes that we should bring these feelings into the conscious mind. He cites Dr. Manfred Clynes who, in his studies, has found that we as humans can only feel one feeling at a time. With that in mind, we should simply be able to immediately change a negative feeling into another feeling that we better prefer. “Why worry if it doesn’t feel good?”.

Lishui K Springford, MindTree

Lishui says that happiness is the result of “overcoming a known obstacle to a known goal”. That way, worrying is typically a result of facing an obstacle on our path towards a goal we want to obtain, whether that goal is a specific outcome or situation we are looking to be played out for us. According to Lishui, worrying is attempting to prevent or “needing to control a situation that is threatening to get out of hand”. The way she prefers to deal with situations like these is by first trying to talk it through with someone in order to gain clarity because what clarity enables us to do is view a situation objectively. Once she’s gained clarity and reviewed the given situation objectively, she starts getting practical and begins doing what it takes to get to her goal, regardless of her thoughts about what might happen. The great author and life coach Dale Carnegie once noted that one of the best ways to deal with worry was to get busy. The more time you spend on doing, the less time you have to waste on thinking.

(Originally posted on April 18, 2017 on bodymindmanagement.com by author Marcus Kwame)

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