Presentations. Bills. Work. Deadlines. Our futures. Relationships. Tests. Success.
These are just a few of the many things we human beings tend to obsessively worry about. Some of us tend to worry more than others, but at the end of the day, we are all easily worried. But have you ever thought about what the benefit is of worrying?
Let me tell you: there is none.
As Baz Luhrmann said, “Don’t worry about the future, Or, worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum…”
Worrying about something doesn’t help you. In fact, it uses up your mental energy, so that you are less likely to find a solution. Imagine if instead of worrying, you used that time and mental space to focus on a solution to your problem. Yeah, I know, much easier said than done!
The truth is, worrying about something will never change the outcome. Here are some things to remember when you find yourself stuck in a cycle of worrying.
Worrying Steals Your Present
For example, if you are worrying about the fight you had with a friend a month ago, you are robbing yourself of the present moment. You are stealing your present from yourself. The same thing happens when you worry about something in the future. So whenever you are worrying about something, ask yourself, “Is this a situation in the present moment or am I time-traveling right now?”
There is no point in worrying about the past. After all, no matter how hard you try, you can’t change it (unless you learn how to time-travel, and if so, let me know!).
Interestingly, the same goes for the future. No one has seen the future and you have no idea what it will bring you. Sure, you can try to prepare yourself, but there is absolutely no point in worrying.
Worrying Makes You Suffer More
Worrying causes you to suffer unnecessarily. For example, let’s say you are worried about failing a test. By worrying about it right now, you are suffering. However, when you actually fail the test, you will suffer, too. So what’s the point of worrying and suffering right now?
Additionally, a lot of the things we worry about don’t even end up happening. They are just our minds coming up with the worst-case scenarios, in an effort to keep us safe. However, it causes us more harm than good. Instead of protecting us from pain in the future, we end up causing more pain in the present.
Find a Solution, Don’t Worry
If you truly want to take action to either fix something in the present moment that is a result of something that happened in the past, then dedicate some time to coming up with a practical solution. Don’t waste time and energy worrying. For example, if you had a fight with your friend and you are worried that she hates you now, stop worrying. Instead, you can call her up and clear the air. Maybe she isn’t even as mad as you thought she was.
If, on the other hand, you are worried about an exam in the future, ask yourself what you can do on a practical level to ease the worry. Perhaps it is studying a little bit every day. So, instead of wasting time worrying, spend that time studying instead.
Remember, our minds often end up worrying about problems that don’t yet exist, or that we can’t even control. This results in unnecessary suffering. So, be mindful about your thoughts and redirect your focus from worries about the past or future and return to the present moment. With practice, you will see there is a lot less to worry about than you thought.