My posts on this site are about the different ways we can achieve happiness and peace and diminishing worry and anxiety. I've written about the different realizations I've had regarding the matter, and there are quite a few of these articles on this site by now.
A few days ago, I've decided that I'll try to accumulate the methods and affirmations I use on a day-to-day basis to banish worry from my life. I've written quite the draft for myself, so let's get right into it.
1. Believe in yourself.
This sound like a cliché, but it is actually very important in banishing worry. I always say that clichés became clichés for a reason.
One of the reasons worriers worry so much is that they don't believe that they will be able to solve the problems life presents them with. If we believed in ourselves, there would be much less situations to worry about, if any.
We are all the same. We are all human beings on this planet Earth, and the truth is that we are all capable of handling anything that life presents us. Believe in yourself, because you are more than capable of handling anything that comes at you, that is simply a fact.
2. Be in the present.
The past is a ghost, it cannot touch you now. Whatever happened, happened, it doesn't really matter. What matters is the person you choose to be in this moment. No matter who you have been up until now, you can decide to change it any moment. The past cannot define you, only your present behavior does.
The future is a fantasy. We are not fortune tellers, and we have absolutely no idea what's going to happen next, no matter how hard we try to think about it. Thinking does not create life, you will never be able to think about what will happen, you only just waste your present moments by thinking about the next ones.
Stay in the present, because that is the only thing you truly have, the only time that holds truth.
3. See the truth.
The most important thing you have to strive for when trying to banish worry is seeing the truth. By seeing the truth, I mean identifying your thoughts as just thoughts, and returning back to the present, seeing what is actually true.
It is a process to learn to identify your thoughts as thoughts and not identify with them. But once it really gets to you that your thoughts are not real, you will be able to calm yourself down even before worry arises, by dismissing the fearful thoughts that would start the anxiety as just thoughts.
The goal is to get to a point where your thoughts will not have the power to scare you anymore, because you will see that they hold no reality.
My husband always says that "he'll deal with it when it happens," when he starts to worry. This is a great method, since it helps you come back to the present moment, and the time to deal with the problem will only come when it actually arises, which in most cases is never.
The truth is that we know nothing. This can be a frightening thought at first, but in reality it's actually quite comforting. We don't know anything anyway, so we can let our thoughts go with ease.
4. Worry serves no useful purpose.
I thought about this for quite a long time, and I realized that worry serves no useful purpose whatsoever for the modern human being. Worry activates the fight or flight response, which is very useful in the animal world and was very useful for humans as well when we were cavemen, but the modern human can gain nothing by worrying.
It will not save your life, since we are not in situations anymore when we have to run or fight for our lives. This response still keeps activating in us, but it serves no purpose now. When we realize this, it will be easier to let go of our thoughts.
5. Practice mindfulness and meditate.
Meditation helped me greatly with my overactive mind. It was the first thing I started to practice, and it helped me see my thoughts, which I have not been aware of before. I could see myself from the outside during meditation, and this allowed me to realize the changes I wanted to make in my life and my behavior.
If you are looking to start meditation, my guided meditations would be a great way to start. I recreate the most blissful experiences I have during my own meditation practice in hopes of sharing the experience with you all.
Practicing mindfulness during your everyday activities is a wonderful experience. Using your senses to experience the life around you helps in grounding you and immersing you in the beauty of reality.
I love to walk among trees and hug them, thank them for helping us breathe, feel the earth under my feet, think about how rhinos look like dinosaurs, admire my dog as she runs carefree through the park, think how we're just a big herd family of humans when I'm stuck in a crowd, and all around enjoy the wonder that is life and Mother Earth.
You don't have to be in any specific place to practice mindfulness, it can be practiced anytime, anywhere. A Vietnamese Zen Buddhist monk, Thích Nhất Hạnh, has wonderful books about mindfulness. What he writes about is wonderful, and how he writes is also wondrous. You can feel his loving heart and soul seep through the pages. He has many books, the one I can advise you to start with is "Peace Is Every Step."
6. Throw out your mind.
Once you have learned that your thoughts are just thoughts, you can start practicing what I like to call "throwing out your mind," which means learning to stop the thinking process, thus preventing overthinking.
Worriers think too much, that's why they worry. If we would not think so much, trying to analyze everything, we wouldn't have anything to worry about, since what we basically do is worry about our thoughts, not real life.
Catching your thoughts as you think them and consciously deciding not to entertain them, not to hold on to them and not to add more negative thoughts to them is important. It's not easy, it doesn't happen immediately, but with practice, it can become second nature.
When I feel that my mind is particularly full, I like to fill a glass with water and simply pour it out into the sink while breathing deeply, symbolizing me emptying my mind.
A mind full of thoughts can feel like a security blanket, but in truth it holds neither security nor purpose.
Learn to let harmful thoughts go, there is simply no need for them. Allow yourself to let them go, I promise you, you don't need them. Throw out your mind.
7. Gain perspective.
By gaining perspective, it becomes easier not to believe the fantasy scenarios of the mind. To see how ridiculous they are.
To change your perception, you will first have to realize that the way you perceive things is very subjective. Needles can be scary for one person, but exciting to another with medical fetishism. It's all about perspective, and that perspective is highly subjective.
Nothing is actually scary, it is only the way you choose to perceive that particular event. In reality it is neutral, and for another person, it might be something positive, it is ultimately your choice to perceive it as scary and worrisome.
Once you understand and see the truth behind your own behavior, you can let it go more easily and build up the person you want to be.
8. Make peace a priority.
If you want to have a peaceful life, you have to prioritize, peace being somewhere on the top of that list.
Whatever happens in life, you can always choose to react to it with peace. It is always an available choice, no matter what kind of situation you are in. Always.
If you're feeling anxious, or you're feeling any kind of negative emotion, you can take a step back and let go of the thoughts that made you feel that way, already knowing that they hold no reality and serve no purpose. Then you can decide to react to the feeling inside of you with peace: accept it and let yourself calm down.
When you make peace a priority, nothing will be that important to worry about, since your peace will be above all else. You can allow yourself to put peace as a priority, since it is not only the most beneficial for yourself, but also for everyone else in your life.
9. Turn fear into excitement.
You know by now that you actually know nothing, so who are you to say that whatever you're worried about might not be the most amazing thing that could happen to you? Even if it's hardship, you might learn a lesson from it that is invaluable. You never know.
Fear, worry and anxiety is resistance to the future. Excitement is welcoming the future with interest. Why would you offer resistance to something that will arrive in your life despite your resistance?
Instead, surrender to life and welcome it with open arms and sparkling eyes.
10. Embrace your emotions.
Again, why would you resist something that is already there? On top of that, if you resist a negative emotion, it will only get stronger. Emotions are there for a reason, and they demand to be felt.
We are here, human beings on this planet Earth, so we might as well enjoy the ride and embrace this human experience.
Being a human comes with a lot of highs and lows and an extremely wide range of emotions. We now learned not to fear these emotions, but to look at them with excitement.
Negative emotions are just as part of us as the positive ones - one cannot be felt without the other.
Remember that whatever you are feeling, it is perfectly normal and many others are feeling the same way as you. We are never alone with our feelings.
These are the things that helped me on my journey, and I hope they can help you too on yours. I hope you can use this post to guide you on your way to a more peaceful life, without worry.
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself." - Franklin D. Roosevelt