An Antidote to Worry

Share on Facebook
Post to Twitter
Bookmark this on Yahoo Bookmark
Post to Google Buzz
Bookmark this on Hatena Bookmark
Bookmark this on Google Bookmarks
Bookmark this on BuzzURL
Bookmark this on Livedoor Clip
Share on FriendFeed

Nobody likes to worry. Usually people think that whether they should worry depends on what is going on in their lives. You worry because you have good reasons to worry. It’s easy to worry if you lose your job or a loved one gets sick. But if you believe that you have good reasons to worry, then you can’t stop worrying until your circumstances change. This is what we’ve all been taught, that worry is a natural part of life.

When you have a good reason to worry, you’ll get a lot of support for your worries to continue. Your friends and relatives, because of their good-intentioned compassion, will understand and support your worries. They will listen to you and understand. This is not a bad thing. It’s a way we connect and care for each other.

But if you can realize that you can not worry and still handle something, and that many circumstances are actually outside your influence than worry becomes undesirable.  If you recognize that worry gets in the way of solution, and that the only problem about worry is not what you are worrying about, but that you are worrying, then I have a proposition for you.

I would like you to join me in an experiment. Every day for a week I would like you to take a few minutes to practice being grateful. Here’s how I would like you to practice. Each day, at a time you choose, in a setting where you won’t be disturbed, I would like you to close your eyes and think of something that you are honestly and purely grateful for presently having in your life. Imagine being with this person or thing. For example, I might imagine being with my wife, one of my daughters or a close friend. I might imagine the osmanthus shrub in front of my house that fills it with an angelic fragrance every time I open the door. It doesn’t matter whether you think of something big or small, as long as your grateful feeling is pure and brings a smile to your lips. I then want you to repeat this four more times for a total of five things for which you feel grateful. Take the time to fully associate the experience and enjoy yourself. It should only take a few minutes.

Then I would like you to test my theory. After your gratefulness practice try to worry about the things you tend to normally worry about. I suspect it will be much harder to worry for at least a short period of time. Please let me know how you fare.

Gratefulness seems to be an effective antidote for worry, and also for regret. While you’re feeling grateful it’s impossible to worry or regret something. I hope you enjoy your little experiment and let me know about your experience. I’m particularly interested in whether regular practice has some longer-lasting, more pervasive positive effect in your life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>