Why Worry Is A Choice (And What To Do About It)

Life throws unexpected challenges all the time; that funny tingling we sometimes get in our fingers; our children who don’t seem to be making friends at school like we thought they would, or maybe having a boss that continually doublechecks all of our work. We worry all the time; we wonder if there is something wrong with our health; if your little one is being picked up at school or even if our bosses think we are not capable of doing our job. 

It’s hard to not worry; and often, it keeps us up at night. Some of us develop anxiety from all the worry we create in ourselves, causing us to suffer from physical symptoms. Yes, we create it ourselves; and in turn, we cause our bodies to fight back. They give us physical discomfort in an effort to warn us that by worrying, we are harming our bodies. 

Remember Yoga’s Teachings

The Buddha states, “Be where you are; otherwise, you will miss life.” Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher, also states, “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” So, why do we have such a hard time following these beliefs? 

I’m going to ask you to do something that may seem contrary to what these two ancient greats said. I would like you to think of an instance in the past where something made you so worried. It may be getting accepted into a good university or college or not knowing if your date was someone you could see a future with; now, take a look at where you are in your life at this moment.

Do you even remember worrying over those past moments? Do they not seem insignificant to you now? I am willing to bet that you feel silly spending time worrying over those things. How often do you actually remember the time spent worrying? Odds are, you don’t; you only remember the outcome. 

Yes, sometimes the outcome is bad, but it is often not as bad as we anticipate it to be. Most of the time, bad outcomes are ways of driving us forward to something better. We may feel disappointed at first, but down the road, there will be another opportunity for us — we just have to be ready for it and remind ourselves of this. We need to be open to what the world has for us, and this means not worrying about life. 

If you are naturally an anxious person, fear is the eminent, no matter the situation you face. You hate the idea of uncertainty, and this is your only way to cope with it. But guess what? It’s not. When we are afraid, we make the path for clear decision-making foggy; instead of seeing a road with multiple forks in it, we see scary dark trees, strange creatures lurking in the forest, and unnerving sounds. 

Life will always be uncertain; we are not given a roadmap with predictable destinations to follow – and you need to embrace this fact. Think of all the unexpected surprises you have had in life – those with wonderful outcomes. Would these not have been ruined for you if you knew they were coming? 

Dealing with an anxious mind and the worry that often comes with it takes time and cannot be changed overnight. As with all challenges and situations in life, small steps are a great place to start. It can be accomplished by introducing meditation into your life or adapting small changes in the way you think. Sometimes, little reminders to remain positive can work wonders. If the path of yoga follows the belief that we and the universe are all-encompassing, then the real self is beyond conflict, beyond anxiety, and beyond worry – and isn’t that a comforting thought? 

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