Worry is visualizing the future in a negative way.
If we do that, we ruin a perfectly good present moment by dwelling on an imaginary possible future.
Done consistently, it warps a person’s ability to see reality clearly and robs them of their vitality.
I must admit upfront that I am a worrier – I always have been.
Although I am grateful that, thanks to my practice, I am learning to overcome the compulsion to worry obsessively.
For me, it helps to remind myself of the following:
“If you have a problem that can be fixed, then there is no use in worrying. If you have a problem that cannot be fixed, then there is no use in worrying.” – Buddhist proverb
“When I look back on all these worries, I remember the story of the old man who said on his deathbed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which had never happened” – Winston Churchill
I also try to be gentle with myself.
I know that worry or anxiety is often my first reaction in a stressful or new situation. But I’ve come to accept that, and stop trying to fight it. And to stop feeling frustrated with myself.
I now take a moment to breathe, accept that I am feeling worried, and let the feeling dissipate.
I try to be mindful of my body, and really interested in what anxiety feels like – instead of pushing it away. I take note of the sensations – tightness and clenching in my stomach, the feeling of adrenalin racing through my body. And interestingly those intense feelings usually last only 10 seconds or so at most. Then they pass. And they always do pass.
Another thing that has really helped me is accepting that sometimes I need to walk away from a situation and come back to it.
Instead of letting the fear take over, and avoiding the problem (I have been the queen of avoidance in the past).
I let the initial anxiety subside, then return to what was worrying me, and face it.
Eventually I realised that I cause more anxiety to myself by trying to avoid an issue, than by approaching it calmly and with an intention to handle it with kindness and love.