From a old non-pro senior who's been there and done OK.
Anxious and disturbing events are happening all about and we are reminded of them daily. How can we help not being affected by distressing news on war, crime, poverty, corruption and perhaps our personal situations.
We often find ourselves in very worrisome circumstances feeling helpless or hopeless. Unable to get our minds off a problem we flounder around in thoughts of despair.
The harm that worry causes in our lives has been well documented by health professionals, academics and some very wise old sages. Worry can weaken and sicken us, and turn our days into nightmares if left unchecked. At the very least, it can prevent us from living fully and happily the only life that we will ever have. At its worse, it can devastate us.
What to do?
Not to lighten on any oppressive situation but usually we can do something to help ourselves in some way and perhaps eliminate the burden altogether. Of course we should always consider professional medical help with serious physical or mental problems. Many noted thinkers have suggested ideas that apply to a very large percentage of distressing conditions and have provided helpful ideas for living a more peaceful and happy life.
Worried that a dire situation 'might' occur can waste large portions of one's life, considering that so often it is for nothing. Worrying almost certainly does no good if nothing can be done, and it cannot or should not be avoided. To continue worrying about it will only increase the stress and result in yet more worry.
A lot of our anxieties and fears have no sound basis and we can turn them off, if we first think them through. A friend can be a big help here by providing another viewpoint, a useful suggestion or simply directing your thoughts back on a sound course.
With a quick and positive change of thoughts we can feel better, even when there appears to be no way up. So switch off the negatives and simply start thinking nice pictures, ideas and experiences. Stop and make a list to remind yourself of what you have and the things that make you feel good: Family, friends, nature, music, gardening, pets . . .
Philosophers of old have looked at anxieties this way: Consider that the situation is not causing the terrible feelings, but it is what we think of the situation. This can have an enormous positive effect on how we are feeling. So if a specific problem is on your mind analyze it. Gather together all the facts. List the possible solutions with pros and cons. Detail the steps to be taken. Follow through now or when the time comes.
If you are worried about something that you have already done consider if there is still something you can do, and want to do to make amends. If there isn't close and lock the doors on it.
For a problem that you still view as having no practical solution, know that others have been there and been worse. They have survived and are well and so will you be.
Here are some words from those very wise guys, carried on down through the centuries just because they are very wise words. A slow read through them should be a breath of fresh air when the mind is smogged in worry.
- There are more things, Lucilius, that frighten us than injure us, and we suffer more in imagination than in reality. - Seneca
- Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. - Mark Twain
- Today is the tomorrow we worried about yesterday. - Author Unknown
- The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make one. - Elbert Hubbard
- My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened. - Michel de Montaigne
- If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today. - E. Joseph Cossman
- A hundredload of worry will not pay an ounce of debt. - George Herbert
- That the birds of worry and care fly over you head, this you cannot change, but that they build nests in your hair, this you can prevent. - Chinese Proverb
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Grampa Ken - Author of 32 Keys About Life and social issues blogger at Social-Fix.
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