Following the well-known idiom, “every coin has two sides” if the human brain is capable of reminiscing fondly of revels, it is even stronger to grab the entire bag of thousand tons, containing all the stress and anxiety situations that a person can possibly face, and mount it on his shoulders. This is what our brain does as long as we live. However, as we grow old and look back on our lives, so many of us start to contrite about our silliness- silliness of wasting our time in continuous worrying, and start thinking “I wish I had worried less.” We come to recognize that worry isn’t worth what it can cost us – tension, a dearth of sleep, crankiness, obesity, a paucity of focus and general unhappiness.
Why has the human brain a tendency to do what it should not? If worrying has so many drawbacks, then why don’t we stop doing it?
When our brain is bedecked by an uncertainty of possibilities of any future outcomes, we try to keep our nose to the grindstone to assure ourselves that everything will turn out well. Even after doing everything we can to prevent a bad outcome, we live in a constant fear of the possibility that something could go wrong. It may be missing our flight, or getting sick, or messing up at work or losing someone we cherish and dote for. Ultimate control over how and when these things might happen is not with us.
A usual excuse given by people for worrying is that if they worry, they’ll never have to face a bad surprise. It’s understandable that nobody likes to be blindfolded by bad news, it’s human nature. But it doesn’t mean that we start worrying to forestall disappointment. We cannot prognosticate the twists and turns of our lives.
Humans are unable to live with any kind of uncertainty in their lives. They need to be dead sure about everything- no two ways about it. And when we humans have a hard time living with an uncertainty, we return to the situation in our mind, keep turning it over and over, analyzing it, imagining every how, when, why and who of the situation- we try to keep an uncontrollable situation under our control.
What and how much can we gain, if our mind is constantly lost in worries? Stress and anxiety are like vultures who swoop down on our brains in a flash, and once our brain is clutched by its malevolent claws, it’s achingly hard to get away from their grip.
At this stage, you might be thinking, “This is all well, but how am I supposed to worry less?”. Let’s be honest: It’s really hard to stop worrying. So, there are multiple tools to assist us with the process:-
- Calm the nervous system
When we are tightly gripped by worry, our nervous system is on red alert. Our mental tumult turns into physical peskiness, which makes us feel like we really need to worry because of this physical tension.
There are various ways to calm your mind, such as guided muscle relaxation, meditation, and exercise.
2. Notice when you worry.
Nonrecognition of our tension often leads to its snowballing. We might have perceived feeling anxious and depressed, but we don’t realize that we have a notch of choice in letting go of our tension. Awareness of the process provides us with greater choice in how we respond.
3. Embrace uncertainty.
Uncertainty is found in almost everything we care about in this world. We can never be dead sure about how well we’ll do in school, whether our classmates or colleagues will be affable to us, or whether we’ll find our soulmate. And yet, we don’t have to allow uncertainty to stop us from living our lives the way we want.
Albeit, tolerating uncertainty would be the easiest way out, we can also go beyond tolerance by embracing it as an innate part of our living.
4. Live in the present.
Worry, if properly defined, is related to the future. Practice focussing your attention on the present, like on everyday activities such as showering, walking, talking to someone, along with more formal practices like yoga.
Practice makes a man perfect. It takes enormous practice to worry less when we have completely indulged ourselves in the habit of worrying. Dropping our worries is humorously similar to meditation: our determination to not let our worries wander back to our thoughts may fail, just as our mind may wander from the breadth when we meditate. We cannot eliminate all our worries, but we can choose where we direct our attention.