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Habit of Worrying Too Much - and How to Stop It
Anybody Willing to Stop Worrying?
Being an individualist of my own design I shy away from generalizing much about people, which then includes statistics as well. But even if I had those numbers and percentages available of folks suffering from all kinds of emotional and physical issues related to worry, I wouldn't disclose them to you, not to make some of you worried even more.
Now, unless you happen to be reading this at a prison library, or after having heard a verdict about some months left to live due to a terminal disease - you have every good reason to start questioning your habit of worrying.
Articles and books on this topics usually start by defining what worry is, but let me skip this unnecessary formality because you probably know it so well that you could author such text yourself. So, let us get to the crux of it in a hope that some of it could help you to get rid of that nasty habit. Some day in a retrospect it may not even look like having been much to overcome.
Voluntary Muscles Connection
Has it ever dawned on you that something like your voluntary muscles could be a part of your worrying mechanism? And moreover, that those muscles that are perfectly under our control could actually help in reversing that habit?
I know, I caught you a little unprepared for this approach to the resolving of worrying habit, since you probably thought how it was exclusively an emotional feature. Well, not really. As a matter of fact - guess what - without our voluntary muscles tensing up the whole sequence of worrying can't be activated.
That's right folks. It's like our minds can't produce worry if they don't have that muscular backup of "readiness for what's coming to us". As a matter of fact, that would go for just about any negative feeling, but let us keep it as a "partner to worrying".
That partnership boils down to the mass of worrisome thoughts raising the tonus to those muscles, and then the muscles providing a crazy motoric for an action that is not about to happen.
So, how does this piece of information help us in our attempt to stop worrying, you may ask. Well, for one thing, the process is reversible - by practicing to make our voluntary muscles relaxed, we actually disable our minds to produce worry. How is that for tricking our mind? - which is only fair, because our mind is notorious for playing tricks on us in all possible subtle ways that we may never suspect.
Relaxing Facial Muscles Goes a Long Way
Those furrow lines between our eyebrows didn't appear there to "give some character to our faces", but as a result of a chronic worrying, even that unconscious one. Namely, many folks are not aware how much they are secretly tense over some future outcomes.
The main reason being that we don't trust ourselves enough as to welcome our future, while ready to face any adversity and deal with anything unfavorable. That lack of readiness makes us worry whether we will be up to all the challenges and demands being thrown at us in the times to come.
So, we could start our relaxation routine by relaxing our face, all of those 80 or so muscles. Did you know that Olympic sprinters and runners train themselves to relax face and hands, because those two groups of muscles are particularly responsible for wastage of nervous energy which they need for maximum performance and inner coaching to win. By doing that they also remove any anxiety about the outcome of their run.
BONUS: By training your facial muscles to be relaxed, your face will start looking younger. Your expression will change, some wrinkles will disappear. Did you know that Botox facelift does exactly that: relaxes your facial muscles by preventing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to tense up those muscles and cause wrinkles?
But then, since you are not going for an Olympic medal, you can afford to relax more than your face and hands. Always think in terms of that tandem of mind and muscles and how they can only produce worry when both do their part. Fortunately, that's what "voluntary" is - meaning that you can use those muscles as you wish.
Benefits surpass elimination of worrying, and may bring you many pleasant surprises about your overall changed model of psycho-physical functioning. It's like a mini-yoga practice, especially when coupled it with slightly deeper and regular belly breathing. Try to make it a new habit - this breathing and focusing on a loosening of muscles.
The Whole Life Is Happening only Now and Here
Now, let's visit those outside triggers of worries. What are they? Are they something realistic or something only imaginary? The question to ask ourselves - is there anything to be done that would remove, or at least minimized the "problem"?
I have my own definition of "problems", and to me they are something that we don't feel like doing, coupled with failing to make a realistic assessment of how much of the solution involves something beyond our control.
In some other articles I already mentioned this truism of our nervous system being a goal-oriented servo-mechanism. It interprets our repeated thoughts as commands for an action, while in worrying mode we are talking about an action that's not to take place. You see, our nature has a default program to deal only with tasks at hand, in this here and now, so we are confusing our body by worrying about future.
Meaning that we can't catch up with the lost sleep of the previous night; neither can we breathe enough now for tomorrow. So, when we are worrying, we are basically stepping on a gas pedal while in a parking gear. You see how we are abusing our bodies, and wasting one hell of a nervous energy?
Like that old Arabic saying goes: "You can't mount the camel that already passed by, nor the one that hasn't come yet".
Mental Slaving to News Media
Then it becomes a habit, or better yet - an addiction. You see, our subconscious survival mechanism interprets everything that we continually feel or do as learning a "new skill useful for survival". Then it promptly stores it among all other skills like, let's say driving or speaking for a future use.
The problem is that once worrying becomes a habit, it wants to be fed, like any other habit with more and more "reasons" for worrying. Crazy as it may sound to you, many people actually create an unconscious "life script" with worry enjoying an important role in it - so they unconsciously create a lot of problems for themselves, only to have something to worry about.
I know you find it a sort of unbelievable, but that's one of those tricks that I mentioned earlier that our minds are playing on us. And even when we don't go that far, we are bound to obsess over everything imaginable - especially those negative media news.
I wrote a lot about this topic in another article, which you can recognize by its title, but it may be worth repeating how it is the media's job to keep you worried and come for more reasons to worry, once you got yourself addicted. If you had a business, how else would you attract customers but by presenting your products as something that they "need"?
So they are playing on your fears and worries, and they are real pros in what they do. Before you know it, you are hooked feeding on those news and worrying your head off about all those uncertainties and threats to your survival.
How can I have a heart to advise you to stop watching them - when those news are the first thing you want to hear upon awakening? I don't know, but it would definitely be a good idea to at least develop a more realistic attitude of "taking it all as a fiction", like I am doing. We won't go there now, but - most of it really is nothing but fiction.
So, if you can watch a suspenseful movie without losing a sleep afterwards, you'll be fine after watching the news - as long as you don't take any of that seriously.
Worrying - one of the Easiest Habits to Break
From time to time I am asked how I can smile during one of those conversations about possible, or even "imminent" disasters befalling the humankind. Well, for one thing, I happen to be a kind of oddball when it's about refusing to torment myself with my own mind's constructs - but that's not what I tell them.
Instead, I ask my good friends, how fast they can run upon seeing a mushroom cloud on the horizon; and how they are planning to stop a stampede of camels carrying those sabre-waving terrorists in black; and where will they sell their furniture for food after the economy crushes.
In short, I tease them, helping them to face all the ridiculous nature of worrying for nothing. I may tell them a little of what I am writing about here, but I can tell on their faces that they would not give up their sweet habit for nothing. Something that you see on the face of a chain smoker after you tell him that smoking is slowly killing him.
Thus, I don't know if my article provided anything like an inspiration to consider giving up this habit of worrying. I can only share so much - life is simply a divine journey when we don't give a care about all those things that we cannot control, and when we simply do what is doable and due to be done.
Among other habits this one is not so hard one to break, and the rewards are phenomenal, not only emotional but also physical. Living carefree is real living while worrying is merely surviving. So try implementing some of the ideas in this article, and surprise yourself with a brand new intimate reality.