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"Why worrying is a waste of time "


Devesh was trying to cross the road. He waited, looked to his left, then to his right, and assessed the flow of traffic to decide when to cross. (In India, vehicle drivers are oblivious to the meaning of a zebra crossing!) He was worried. He feared the possibility of getting hit by a moving vehicle and felt concerned about his safety.

Would you say that ‘worry’ of this kind is a waste of time? Hopefully not! Because fear of this sort is a natural human tendency and also a necessity for self-preservation. Without having appropriate worry or concern about our safety, our days on earth would not continue for very long! So next time when you give what you think is sage advice, “Don’t worry!” “Be calm!” think again! You may be robbing the person of a very vital self-protecting emotion.

That brings us to a question then, which kind of worrying is a waste of time?

Devesh after he crossed the road successfully arrived at the party to which he had been invited. He paused before entering the room. He noticed that his hands were cold and sweaty; he felt his pulse race and could literally hear his heart go rub-a-dub-dub. He noticed his thoughts: “Oh God! Am I going to be received well? Will people recognize me? After all, it’s been twenty years since we’ve met up. Wow, I left school that long ago. Will I make that good impression? What will they think of me?”

Was Devesh worried about his safety? Was his life in danger? Would it be correct to say that this ‘worry’ was for self-preservation? Again I hope you would think not.

It is this kind of ‘worry’ or more appropriately termed – anxiety – that is nothing but a fear of ‘mental injury’ or ‘harm’ that is needless and self-defeating. And there are many kinds of anxiety that people have which may or may not happen. The primary one being over concern for what someone thinks of us!

So whenever you are anxious ask: Is my fear valid? Is it about my safety?
If your answer is in the negative, proceed and ask: ‘Which attitudes am I nurturing? Some of them may sound like: ‘I must make a good impression, I must never go wrong, I must be able to control every aspect of my life, I must never have to suffer’, etc. These hidden attitudes are often at the basis of our anxiety.

Go further and ask: Are these factors within your control? Most often you will find that when you are anxious your concentration is often on things that are not within your control.

Another quality of anxiety or rather the primary quality of it is – asking for guarantees. Asking for certainties in a life that is very uncertain!

With sensible thinking and re-education construct more reasonable philosophies of living and loving to eradicate your anxiety.

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