Saturday, October 16, 2010

Five Steps to Freedom from Worries

The article is about the heavy burden caused by worry, stress, and anxiety. Most people actually feel the stress and anxiety of dealing with relationship and financial issues, career challenges, and other matters that elicit fear, tension, and insecurity. The article also cites a number of ways or steps that should be taken by a person to overcome worry.

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Merriam-Webster defines “worry” as a mental distress or agitation that usually comes from something that is both feared and anticipated.  The source of ones worries can either be real or imagined. Worrying causes so much stress and anxiety. We use so much our our mental energy, time, and even resources to control or attempt to manage our worries.  But no matter what we do, these worries don't really give us peace of mind.  

But what does worrying do for us?  Worry is like a dense fog that can cloud our vision and slow us down. It even knocks out our sense of proportion.  When we worry about things that happened in the past, we fail to move on in life.  We also worry about health, money, and other things that have yet to happen --- a situation that causes us even more trouble.

We worry about our payments...tuition fees...who our kids are dating...the stock market...interest rates...the ozone layer... and even about comets hitting the earth.  Our “enslaving expectations” make us restless and afraid.  Discontentment and worry destroys our personal peace and “eats us alive.”  Being enslaved by worries is like being inside a pressure cooker. It is like living in a state of chronic frustration. Our dissatisfaction also magnifies our weaknesses.  

Another cause for worry is when we needlessly compare ourselves to others or when we are consumed by envy and greed.  Keeping up with the Joneses is another social malady that afflicts so many people.   Insecurity and lack of confidence makes some individuals look and see how “other people's grass is always greener.”   This situation drives them to equal or even surpass other people's material possessions  or social standing.  Worse, they do this using pretense and other inauthentic means of improving their status.  Material gain is not celebrated as proof of financial success but more so as a means not to “look smaller” compared to the neighbors, officemates, and other sources of envy.   

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How do we deal with worries, then?

The first step to dealing with worry is to identity what worries you the most. Accepting that you have fears is the first necessary step.  

The second step is to tell yourself that worries are not necessarily logical or rational.  It is important for a worrier to start believing that their worries can be solved.  While having feelings of worry is a valid emotion, a worrier must really decide to start the journey to freedom from fear.  

The third step is to make a sensible plan on how to address those worries.  For example, if your children frequently come home late at night, give your children mobile phones so that you can always keep in touch.  The worrier must take action and correct situations that cause anxiety.

The fourth most important step is to let go.  Letting go is key to overcoming worry and all the stress that comes with it.   Letting go entails having faith that “...God will make things work together for good.”  it does not mean that one gives up in resignation. Letting go is simply entrusting one's work or one's life to a higher power after one has already done the best he or she could under the circumstances.  After you've done everything you could, there is already no point in being in anguish over life's many details and tasks.

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