Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow. Swedish proverb
The trouble with worry is that we tend to magnify it and treat them as calamities waiting to happen or disasters that have knocked the wind out of our sails. The old English phrase ‘Making a mountain of a mole hill ‘aptly describes human nature when confronted with trouble. True there are varying degrees of trouble that we come upon daily but it is also true that almost all our troubles subside at some point in time or get solved over time. Yet our tendency to view most troubles as tragedies in the making, threatens us with emotional upheaval and personal trauma.
Coping with worry is very tricky. To understand how tricky and troublesome it is , just try walking with a tiny pebble in your shoe. The size of the pebble is not the problem but it constantly irritates and hurts us and worse still you cannot figure out where it will poke us next. Imagine worry as a similar pebble in your mind. While one can identify and remove a physical pebble, worries will always keep niggling you and it is near impossible to eradicate it from our thoughts and life. Ever imagined seeing a red elephant? Now try to forget that red elephant. You can’t because now that imprint has percolated your thoughts and will be there for quite a while.
Most times our worries are self inflicted. It is stupid not to study and then worry about exams. Similarly it is idiotic to pick a quarrel with ones boss and then worry about his/ her reaction to it. Other times our tardiness, sloppiness, casualness, laziness etc. are responsible for missed deadlines, shoddy work, indiscipline etc. and then it is pointless worrying over the consequences. In such cases we need to change. Other times worries are circumstance specific. An unexpected event, be it missing a flight or misunderstanding in communication could lead to worries. These worries hurt us more because we are not responsible for it but we are responsible for solving it. Here we tend to lapse into a ‘poor me’ syndrome and worry more about how to shield ourselves from the problem than in attempting to overcome the problem.
So do we have to live with worries always? Now that you have identified how the seeds of worry are planted and what happens with growing worries and how they crop up of and on in our thought process, we need to focus our attention on how to minimize or mitigate its impact. Most times we try not to think too much on what worries us and instead divert our mind from it unfortunately realizing very late that the worry remains almost imprinted. The first step therefore is to look at the worry rationally and note the worst case scenario. Once we know the worst case scenario we are reasonably sure things can’t get worse and then we can go about strategizing how to mitigate the worry. E.g. We have the tendency to delay conveying bad news to our seniors or the authorities and we constantly worry about their reactions. Once we visualize the worst case situation, we need to convey the bad news appropriately and at the earliest.
Never let worries bloat up like a balloon and look bigger than what it really is. A deft prick will deflate the worry balloon and make it more manageable and less scary. It also help sot know that no worry is just one persons alone; there will be many others to share that burden too.
Remember: “Worry is the darkroom in which negatives are developed”
- List out names of 2-3 people who you think are constantly worrying. Observe their words and communication content. They will be always complaining and blaming. How do you think they can change and ensure that they enjoy life more? Can you gently give them some hints on those lines?
- Make a list of things that you regret. E.g I should have studied harder and got better marks or I should not have fought with my girlfriend/ boyfriend and broken off. Do those regrets still worry you? You can change the past but you can learn from them so how will you see those regrets positively and leverage them to improve yourself?
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