Do you struggle to get through the day because you are consumed with worry? Are you a ’prisoner of fear’? If you do, you are not alone...
Do you struggle to get through the day because you are consumed with worry? Are you a ’prisoner of fear’? If you do, you are not alone. There is an endless supply of things to worry about, both in world affairs and our personal life.
The reason and result of worry
The main reason why we worry is simple. We are trying to protect ourselves. We think that if we know about things ahead of time, we can prepare and be ready to handle them. Because, it is the irrational part of our ego mind that is at play here, we are looking for an escape route from events that have not occurred yet.
Worrying does not prevent problems from happening and it does not prepare you for them. It just drains, confuses and exhausts. In that state, we are far less prepared for anything that might happen. Moreover, because our mind and body are deeply integrated, we end up hurting not only our mental wellness but our physical health too.
‘Worry pretends to be necessary but serves no useful purpose.’ – Eckhart Tolle
If you worry and nothing goes wrong, you have wasted your time. If you worry and something does go wrong, you have still wasted you time. And let’s face it, how many situations have we worried about end up happening? Hardly any, if at all. That’s lots of wasted precious time and energy.
Returning to our natural state of being
Were you born worrying? Where does this feeling come from? Worrying is not our original and natural state of being. Our natural state is of peace, love, joy and abandoned curiosity of what can be learnt in the moment. Worrying robs us of the gift of living in the moment and being in tune with our soul. It superimposes the ‘future’ on the ‘present’, emptying today of its strength.
Putting an end to worrying is not as simple as just deciding not to. We must not only explore why we choose to continue the habit but to replace the worry with an alternative set of beliefs to truly put an end to it. Worry is the paralyzing by product of fear and anxiety. So, to break the cycle of constant worry one must conquer fear and anxiety.
The difference between fear and anxiety
Fear and anxiety are two words often used interchangeably but there are, in fact, subtle differences between them.
Fear stems from our survival instinct when faced with an immediate threat. It is there for our protection. When we experience fear without being faced with an immediate threat, it is usually connected to something in our past which we associate negatively to. Either something that happened to us or around us or something we did and later regretted. When this memory is triggered, the feeling of fear surfaces and so the worrying begins.
Anxiety is more pervasive and deeper. It affects many areas of our life at the same time. It is connected to poor self-esteem, not living aligned to our core values and beliefs. To compensate we either fall into an inferiority complex or create a huge ego. We identify and become dependent on the precarious external world, possessions and people, for validation and happiness. When the external world does not go in ‘right’ direction, the feeling of anxiety surfaces and once again the worry begins.
In short, fear is based on past experiences and anxiety is based on future uncertainty, neither of which delivers true happiness.
‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery and today is a gift, that is why it is called the present.’ – Eleanor Roosevelt
Overcoming fear and anxiety
Fear and anxiety indicates a lack of acknowledgment, self-love, self-worth, physical well-being, friendships, neutrality, preparation, faith and perspective. Tackling each of these will make fear and anxiety a thing of the past.
Acknowledging your fears is a major first step. We often ignore our fears and anxiety for so long that they become a part of us. Separate your fear from the rest of yourself. Then peel back the layers and find out what it is that you fear. Is it disappointing others? Rejection? Failing? Recognize that it’s holding you back from becoming your true self.
Fear is sneaky. It can be obvious, presenting as physiological symptoms, or it can be much more obscure, coming in the form of procrastination, perfectionism, and overwhelmingness.
As scary as it seems, recognising this brings about an awareness that will help us cope and move forward. When we are feeling worried, we need to ask ourselves what is the fear and anxiety trying to teach us? What do we need to learn for these feelings to dissipate?
‘The beautiful thing about fear is that when you run to it, it runs away.’ - Robin Sharma
If in the past there was something we did, we need to forgive ourselves and make amends if possible. By forgiving and putting things right we finish them for ourselves. Sometimes it may not be possible to speak to the other person involved or it may be too messy to resolve. In these cases, meditating on pure love and good wishes towards them can work wonders.
If in the past there was something that happened to us or around us, we need to forgive ourselves for the physical or mental harm we tolerated. We need to forgive ourselves for not firmly and clearly setting our boundaries when it happened. We are older and wiser now and know to set clear boundaries so that history does not repeat itself.
When we take the time to discover our true inner self, become crystal clear on our core values and beliefs and discover our unique gifts we can share with the world, our inner worth soars and our self-esteem shines through. We can then start to use those values in our work, play and home life. When our outer world is congruent with our inner world, this further increases our natural value, esteem and love for the self.
The wellbeing of our body and mind are deeply interconnected. Optimizing our physical health will help optimize our emotional health.
Our brain needs good raw materials in order to function well. A clean diet of unprocessed foods, regular aerobic exercise and enough good quality deep sleep and the world will seem like a brighter place.
For more information on living a clean lifestyle, read my article 21 Day Body Reset.
I am sure many have heard the phrase ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’. Cliché as it may sound, it is so true. Sharing our fears and anxieties with a trusted calm friend is likely to take the intensity out of our worry. We may realise ourselves as we communicate them with our friend that we are making a mountain out of a molehill.
Sometimes those who suffer from worrying the most have hardly any friends, if at all. Growing our social circle of compassionate friends will greatly help us to overcome fear and anxiety.
Neutrality is all about lessening our attachment to a particular outcome. It is understandable to want a relationship, career, fitness, hobby etc to go in a particular direction and taking the appropriate actions to help achieve it. That is healthy and a good intention. It becomes unhealthy when we micro-manage every aspect of that journey. Because we are so attached to things going the way we want coupled with the fact that we can’t guarantee everything will work out as hoped, there is a possibility of a bad outcome. This idea takes root in our minds and we begin to worry.
The solution is in learning detachment. Being detached doesn’t mean not caring. It is a state of being that not just accepts the out of control aspects of life but enjoys the mystery of what the future holds. There are times we work towards something and get rewarded favourably and other times that is just not so. When we get rewarded, we gracefully accept the gift, and when we don’t, we gracefully accept the learning. In short, to not take life so seriously.
One way to increase the probability of a good outcome is preparation. Preparation without worry is a beautiful thing; an expression of love. For example, if we forecast an economic downturn coming, we can prepare by researching potential side businesses in the event of a job redundancy. If romantic feelings grow for a specific person that is yet to be reciprocated, we can calmly face our fears now, do the inner work on self-love and self-worth so that if they chose to date another we would still be happy.
Search within to determine which is easier for you; do all that you can to prepare while remaining relaxed, or decide that your effort won’t make much difference, not prepare and then worry. When we dig beneath the surface, we realise there is more in our control than we initially realise.
‘Fear tolerated is faith contaminated.’- Kenneth Copeland
Not having faith in the infinite grace of the universe to support you always, causes us to take matters into our own hands, over-control whatever we can and try to fix a situation ourselves.
Understanding that the vibration of love and peace emanating from source energy is so powerful that it only wants a good life for you. A life filled with experiences that help your soul progress and ascend, the sole reason why your being came to earth in the first place. If you allow yourself to let this idea permeate your soul deeper, worrying will not only become a thing of the past but all you will be able to see ahead is bliss.
So at any time, you can communicate with the universe exactly what you want knowing that this or something better will be delivered to you in perfect divine timing.
Our ego loves to label things ‘good’ or ‘bad’. To put things in categories so that we can understand them better. In our society we have labelled worrying as ‘bad’. However, from a spiritual perspective it is not bad or good, rather an invitation from source energy into its presence of its infinite peace and wisdom.
Worry traps to avoid
As you begin practicing self-love, self-worth, neutrality, preparation and faith, I have no doubt you will feel lighter and happier. Living in the present moment will become much easier.
However, there are a few ‘traps’ that can suck your mind back into the cycle of worry. It’s good to be aware of them so you can sidestep them and continue living blissfully from moment to moment.
Attracted to the familiar
We are all attracted to familiar patterns even if these patterns or habits are not good for us. Why? Because these patterns are comfortable to us. This is especially true for those who were raised in chaotic unpredictable environments where worrying was used as a coping mechanism to ‘prepare’ themselves.
So if we find ourselves worrying more and more throughout the day, continue with the overcoming fear and anxiety practices, allow those worrying thoughts to come and leave your mind without any resistance, understand it is just you ego mind that is playing a trick on you and focus on your soul being instead.
A situation arises and we don’t know what to do, so we begin to panic. There is a gift in remaining calm. When we stay calm and grounded solutions present themselves to us much faster.
Our modern world has become increasingly uncertain. Job security is a thing of the past, stock market volatility has increased enormously, relationships have become more fluid. We need to ask ourselves, what are these uncertainties asking of us to stay strong and grounded. Remaining calm, peaceful and loving in the midst of a storm has the power to dramatically change it to a gentle breeze.
Let me know if you suffer from fear and anxiety and how you are getting on with overcoming them in the comment section below. I would love to hear from you.
P.S. - If you know a family member of friend suffering from fear and anxiety, please share this article with them.