Worry : How to Stop Worrying and Start Living

Story: Zen, Airplane and Little Girl (Source: Google Baba)

Once a Zen was travelling by flight for the first time. After some time, the storm broke, within moments that great plane was like a cork tossed around on a celestial ocean. One moment the aeroplane was lifted on terrific currents of air; the next, it dropped as if it were about to crash. 

The Zen also felt the discomfort and fear of those around him. He could see that nearly all the passengers were upset and alarmed. Some were praying. The future seemed ominous and many were wondering if they would make it through the storm. 

Then, he suddenly saw a little girl.

The storm meant nothing to her. She had tucked her feet beneath her as she sat on her seat; she was reading a book and everything within her small world was calm and orderly. Sometimes she closed her eyes, then she would read again; then she would straighten her legs but worry and fear were not in her world. When all the adults were scared half to death, that marvellous child was completely composed and unafraid.” The Zen could hardly believe his eyes. 

It was not surprising therefore, that when the plane finally reached its destination and all the passengers were hurrying to disembark, the Zen lingered to speak to the girl whom he had watched for such a long time. Having commented about the storm and the behaviour of the plane, he asked why she had not been afraid. 

The child replied, “Because my Daddy’s the pilot, and he’s taking me home.” 

In life, many kinds of storms buffet us:

  • Physical
  • Mental
  • Financial
  • Domestic and ….

Many other storms can easily and quickly darken our skies and throw our plane into apparently uncontrollable movement. We have all known such times, and let us be honest and confess, it is much easier to be at rest when our feet are on the ground than when we are being tossed about a darkened sky. 

Let us remember… Our Father is the Pilot… He is in control and taking us home. So, Don’t Worry.

What is the Meaning of Worry?

There is a popular Zen Proverb, “When walking, walk. When eating, eat”.

Worry is like a story that we create internally without realizing and verifying how much is the truth. When the first wave of Covid struck India in March 2020, the majority of the population was in panic and started assuming about the devastation that it could bring. It resulted in hypertension, high blood pressure and many mental diseases which were not related to Covid! In medical terms, it is generally termed an anxiety disorder.

When we worry, we deplete our energy very fast and become weak (mentally and physically). We attribute our weakness to the problem but the fact is that it is more due to our incessant thinking about it.

Interestingly, many times we do not only worry about ourselves but also about things happening around us like weather, politics, culture, relationship etc. Even though we cannot change the weather or the way the government is running the country or the way the child is behaving with us; the commentary goes on internally.

As parents, we force our children to worry about the examination, if we find them relaxed. Yes, children should indeed be focused on their studies but by worrying about the examination and result, will it serve any purpose?

Why do we worry so much?

Worry is like a rocking chair; it gives you something to do but does not take you anywhere

Some people do not worry at all and some worry excessively. The following are the 3 key reasons to Worry

  • Fear of losing control
  • Caring too much
  • Natural

The majority of the reason is due to our nature. Some people have seen so much trauma in their life that they become prone to worry. Interestingly, the same set of people who have seen too much trauma in life stop worrying about anything as they have already gone through it!

Apart from that our upbringing also plays an important role. The way our parents behaves moulds our mindset accordingly. When our parents worry too much even for a little thing like boarding a train or flight, we catch that habit and do not realize that it is unnatural.

The common symptoms of worry are

  • Pressing the lift button till the time it comes!
  • Honking while driving
  • Sleepless nights when the result of our children is due
  • Could not eat properly before the job interview or any important presentation

Whether We Should Keep Worrying?

Some people never seem to worry. They sleep soundly at night even when they have a job interview or early flight the next day. Although it is important to be careful about the important things in our lives like mental and physical health, family, job/business etc. But if worrying is consuming our daily life or getting in the way of our happiness, we are likely worrying excessively. 

When we worry about things happening around us, we want to control them and in majority of the cases, we fail to do it. In spite of our repeated efforts, we are never able to manage and control others. When we constantly worry, we lose our ability to think and could not take concrete action.

The only person whom we can control and manage is ME. But knowingly and unknowingly, we are trying to control others as we do not have control over ourselves. Like there are many cases of road rage, when a car touches another car, both car owners come out, abuse each other, start fighting and sometimes one person shoots another: only for touching the car! Why does it happen? Because we did not have control over ourselves and instead of managing ourselves, we chose to hit others knowingly/unknowingly.

How to Manage the Attitude of Worrying?

Fortunately, there are ways you can break this cycle. “Your brain is like a muscle. You can train your brain just like you can train your body in the gym. You can build your mental muscle to think positively and focus on what you can control.”

Worrying has become a natural pattern in our lives. We need to break this pattern of worrying and teach our minds a new pattern of being peaceful and remember that there is only one person who can be under control and that person is ME.

The following are the 3 best steps that can help us to avoid/control our pattern of worry.

  • Analyze your worries and ask 2 questions
    • What I am worried about
    • What I can do about it

The more actions you will take and less worrisome you will become

  • Consider the worst case and ask yourself, how can I improve this
  • Gratitude, Mindfulness and Positive self-talk can play a very important role in avoiding any worry.

Practice Gratitude: A key element of giving blessings is being grateful for what you have. Practice gratitude in your daily life and learn to appreciate all of the good things in your life.

Meditate: Meditation can help you to focus your mind and clear your thoughts. This can help you to give/receive blessings that are more powerful and meaningful.

Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness can help you to be more present and aware of the blessings in your life. Practice mindfulness regularly to help you to receive/give blessings more easily.

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