Worry. It’s an experience we all have at various points in our lives. Some of us are prone to worrying; some are chronic worriers. Oftentimes, we woe about things over which we have no control. Sometimes we worry about things that scare us, intimidate us or force us to step outside of our comfort zone. No matter the source of your worries, it is undeniably draining and exhausting to carry that weight for any length of time.
I suppose worry falls in the spectrum of normal human thought and emotion, but it can create blinders to reality and if we are not mindful, become a habit of the mind. That’s the way the mind works; think any thought frequently enough, and the brain lays down a neural pathway. Once that worry pathway is laid down, it can become a slippery slope to misery and suffering. In Yoga, we call that samskara.
It’s worthwhile to consider how worry is formed so we can understand how to manage it more effectively. In order for worry to exist, we have to imagine that something bad might happen.
The nature of worry is that it projects us into an imagined future reality; it’s a fantasy.
Think of worrying as a self-created and imposed state of needless fear. Worry is a futile attempt to feel in control of the uncontrollable. It does nothing to guarantee positive outcomes or change current realities. Besides that, it has detrimental effects on the body, mind, and spirit.
It sucks our positive energy, dis-empowers us and puts our focus on the problem instead of
the solution. It can obscure the light within and create an aura of negativity and darkness.
Lately I’ve been finding myself worrying frequently about climate change and it’s devastating impacts. There’s reasons to be concerned for sure…the latest wild fire, flood or drought.
There is little I can do to put out fires and recede flood waters already there, yet I worry that
my grandchildren will have to negotiate an environment beyond repair in years to come. It’s a
valid issue to be concerned, but what does my worrying actually do?
Here’s some good news. We can transform our worrying so that it has a healing effect. Worry uses our imagination, and so can the antidote to worry. Instead of going to the dark place where all the fear, angst and doubt reside, imagine instead the best possible result or outcome. That’s an actionable place for me when it comes to climate change worry.
I channeled that worry energy into a different direction; I purchased a book to give my children and grandchildren called “The Climate Diet: 50 Simple Ways to Trim Your Carbon Footprint” by Paul Greenburg. I swore off plastic wrap, switched to sustainably packaged household goods, planted more flowers for the bees and butterflies, have at least one day a week when I don’t drive anywhere, carry my own shopping bags for everything and use my vote for candidates who care about climate change….the list of things I can do continues to grow.
Now, instead of feeling like a passive victim, I feel like I am doing my small part to assure the planet is livable for my grandchildren.
The point is we can take our worry and recognize it for what it is: a waste of energy to hook into, but also an arrow pointing to the positive things we can do to ameliorate our fears and concerns. This way, we can generate peace and well-being instead of anxiety, nervousness and dis-ease within ourselves.
There’s a close cousin to worry…dread.
It comes from knowing something is sure to happen, yet we avoid taking action to fix the issue before it becomes a problem. We procrastinate and ruminate about the things nagging at us… that unpaid bill, a looming deadline, a rift with a loved one, an upcoming medical test or procedure. In these cases, simply acknowledge that worry is present, acknowledge the fear, then take action tackle the dread and procrastination.
If you can empower yourself to put worry in its rightful place, you might just find there’s no good reason to angst after all. Mobilize your resources for positive change as the remedy instead. Your body, mind and heart will thank you for that!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Cyndi Powers is the mindset mentor for changing the way you think about your body, food, exercise and your life.
She’s been a Yoga teacher for more than 25 years, a Thai Yoga bodyworker, owned a Yoga studio, is an Integrative Health Coach, and now provides a fresh perspective and blueprint to living a healthy, happy life of abundance without stressing over the scale or what you can or can’t eat. Join Cyndi in Panama May 7-13, 2023!