July 4, 2011

Get rid of that worrying problem

Why do we worry? The obvious answer is that we have problems that worry us. so, we worry. But the obvious answer is not always right.

Some women are hardwired for worry. Take for example my friend Savita. She not only is a "wonderful cook" but a "wonderful worrier" too. The joke is that she worries about such silly things. When giving me a recipe, the ingredients and method were all mixed up with worried comments about her son's Maths test marks, her brother-in-law's drinking problem, whether another tsunami would strike soon, whether she had left the electric iron on at home or maybe the gas is leaking... and so on.

I questioned her rather bluntly for her abnormal anxiety and it turned out that she was really worried that she might have cancer. The other worries were her way of avoiding the need to face the real, big one.
worrying doesn't help
Worrying has many psychological and physical effects. Try to work out your problems by thinking objectively.

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From infancy there are problems to be faced and solved. Normal worrying is just the first part of the thinking process involved in the search of answers. It is a way of recognising htat there is a problem, and identifying it, before thinking of how to deal with it. So in a way, worrying is natural and necessary. Call it "anxiety-stress" or "panic-disorder", it still comes to the same thing.

Then, worrying itself becomes another problem and a worse one. The necessary thinking process for solving your problems becomes circular instead of constructive. Your thoughts go round and round, ending where they started, and instead of trying to find answers, you are back where you started - at the beginning. There is no progress, only fatigue and frustration.

Your thoughts are on these lines: "I have a problem. this is my problem. It is very difficult. I have this problem which is very difficult. My problem is very difficult..." You are thinking more about the difficulty than the problem itself; so you cannot think of answers of solutions. Of course, there are some problems that have no solutions or answers, however hard you may try to find them. So what is to be done?

What you should not do is worry yourself sick. Beating your head against a hard wall will hurt you and not the wall. Get the best opinion and advice that you can about the problem, and from several sources. Get support and sympathy from friends and family. By unnecessary secrecy you may be depriving yourself of a lot. Often it is ignorance that makes people seem callous and uncaring. You may get more support and sympathy and help, if they realize that you have a problem.

If after your best efforts, the problem still cannot be solved, then accept the fact. You have to live with it. Look for compromise, work around and with the problem rather than exhaust yourself and others by endless, useless worrying.

Sumi has a retarded child and worries about his future. However, she has pinpointed the areas where she can do something, such as a special school, rehabilitation, love, reassurance and companionship - though at the cost of certain comforts and her social life - not forgetting the hard work involved. Her husband helps, but the bulk of the burden falls on her. She does worry about, "After me, what of the child?" This is only natural, as the problem is not yet solved. But, because she is doing something useful about it, her worry is eased to some extent. Her thinking does not stop with worrying but goes on to produce some concrete results - mostly good.

The physical ill-effects of worry range from sleeplessness and lack of concentration to stomach and skin ailments. Maybe, even heart ailments can be ascribed to this. Emotionally, one is tense, irritable, self-pitying and basically self-centred. Blood pressure (high and low) and weight (under and over) can be adversely affected.

Rather than worrying yourself sick, all by yourself, it is better to develop some skill or talent or hobby and get some pleasure as well as some relief from the worrying. Mingling with friends, attending interesting social and artistic functions like lectures, dance and music recitals, plays and exhibitions or art will develop your personality and broaden your outlook.

Sometimes worriers seek weird distractions that may work negative for them. Take the case of Beena, who's constantly worried about family finances. She is found at every discount sale getting "bargains". But in her efforts to minimize her family's burden, she spends unnecessarily on "bargains" that she does not need. On the one hand, she overspends by indulging in bargain shopping spree while on the other hand she cribs about her meager financial resources. Ms Amina, a rising young executive who is due for a promotion has taken to smoking to relieve the tension and stress at work. She has developed an unattractive and unhealthy smoker's cough. She was popping a pill the other day, "For these headaches, I keep getting. They are ordinary headache pills, you know", she said. Yes, and next it will be tranquillizers to relax, sleeping pills to sleep and something to wake her up too.

Simi and Nita are best friends from the day they started school together. They play together and study together. they worry together too - about exams, boys, careers, parents et al. Finding them in tears one gruelling, hot day, I doled out sympathy and ice-creams. Their overwhelming worry was the looming final exams, which were coming closer and closer. They worried and, how! "I am so worried I can't eat, can't sleep, can't study", Simi broke down while Nita moaned, "I am just the opposite. I sleep and sleep and I'm still tired. I eat and eat and I'm still hungry, and I just can't study either." Both had sickly, spotty skins and dark shadows under their eyes; one was skinny and other overweight, puffy and somehow more pathetic.
We talked and they decided to forget all about their exams, keep normal school hours (though they had revision holidays), eat and sleep only at normal times (no more, no less), write out and stick to a revision timetable, "and promise to stop worrying. "At least, we'll try very hard", they assured me. "and be sure you get some outdoor exercise too", I added. This being a true life incident and not a fable, they did not get exceptionally high marks but they did reasonably well, much better than what was expected of them. Simi developed an interest in dramatics which taught her a lot of self-control and Nita took a great deal of interest in her swimming-coach and hence in swimming and not only realised the importance of exercise but also the basics of a healthy diet.

All these people are real, with real problems and real worries. So unlike in fairy tales, there is no "happy ever after" end. But they did come to realise the value of constructive thinking and positive action over excessive worrying. Each one in her own way, tried and, as a result, is healthier and happier.

Are you a chronic worrier? Then it's time for you to stop now and take steps to combat it. "How to stop worrying and start living" by Dale Carnegie is a wonderful book, that you might find very useful. It's a book that you should have for keeps and read over and over again.
(Guest Post by Navneet R.)



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23 comments:

  1. Aniket9:22 AM

    Realize that its chipping away your health so start easing it with meditation, it's an addiction, just like other addictions, which you can overcome.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Soham9:24 AM

    I think if you can rationalise things to yourself before they become such a huge issue this may help.
    You need to accept that for some things all the worrying in the world wont change it. My grandma used to say 'if I thought worrying would stop ....from happenning Id worry'.
    Try taking some herbal tablets called Kalms or Quiet Life, they do help and are non addictive.
    Try writing things down and read it a few days later, if whatever you have written about hasnt worsened or even happenned this may help you to get things into perspective.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Omkar9:25 AM

    I learned to focus on other things in life and kept myself busy. You need to train your mind, it takes time, but it can be done, by diverting your thoughts to things that you are interested in. Read, learn something that interests you, it will eventually pass where only once in a while you will worry, but not as frequently.

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  4. Geeta9:26 AM

    Faith, Faith, Faith you GOT to have F A I T H !

    ReplyDelete
  5. Disha9:29 AM

    Being active and engaged is always a good way to keep your mind off over thinking

    ReplyDelete
  6. Sumant9:31 AM

    try and keep yourself in check for instance what has worry every got you? Has it changed anything probably not. Try and do the best you can everyday you can do no better then that so try not to worry about it. Get your mind off yourself take up a hobby join a group at school go to church workout read. Get busy and you want have time to worry so much.

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  7. Arpita9:32 AM

    do some exercise... really easy ones like sit ups
    waste your energies off.
    Don't drink tea, coffee or any cold drinks.
    Just drink plain water.
    Then you can stop worrying about things, doze off quickly, wake up bright and early in the morning

    ReplyDelete
  8. Anonymous9:33 AM

    Prayer, Exercise, Quiet Baths, Eat well.
    All of these things release natural endorphins into your body which are calming to your brain. When we neglect ourself and not sleeping eating right resting and exercise we are basically running on empty and burn out.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Kamalnath9:36 AM

    Work more. If you work on things you enjoy, or that benefit you (preferably both), you will be too busy to worry.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Kalyankumar9:38 AM

    Try doing things that build up your self confidence (martial arts, weight training, athletics) & self esteem. Widening your circle of friends may also help. You'll begin to realise your more resilient than you think.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Kajol9:39 AM

    You just have to have faith in yourself... trust yourself and try not caring about anything else.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Panchali9:42 AM

    I have found the best way to stop worrying, is first to ask myself if there is any action I can take, to alleviate my worry.
    If I find I am worrying about something I have no control over, I turn it over to God, and rest assured that it will turn out the best for everyone.
    Meditation is always help-full.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Kedar9:43 AM

    Try and carry a note book with you,
    write down your worries then when your in a silent place and try and figure out why your worried about it- do this daility & one at a time, coz' then you will get heacach if not.
    If you keep doing this, your mind should soon sort itself out(; xX

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  14. Abhinav9:47 AM

    worrying is hazardous to the body and mind.
    If your constantly stressed or under duress you release a hormone via the blood stream that over time harms your vital organs.......worrying is a frame of mind, some people are worriers, some are not.....guess which ones are better off!

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  15. Bhavana9:28 AM

    Thanks this is going to help me a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Manoj9:30 AM

    Very useful information. Thanks a million

    ReplyDelete
  17. Milind9:32 AM

    Great great great blog! that's all I can say! this is a great informative post and I will be sure to visit here more often!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Ichcha9:54 AM

    Thanks....(^_^) and I'm sure this article would help me a lot...

    ReplyDelete
  19. Achala8:26 AM

    Good Tips., if such more tips are there i will be happy.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Jayashree8:27 AM

    Lovely Article !!!! There should be more such informative articles.....nice...

    ReplyDelete
  21. Bharat8:54 AM

    You must learn that there is no way to predict everything that is gonna happen. You have to change your way of thinking. Instead of worrying about what might happen, ask yourself how likely it is that something good can happen. There is just as much likelihood of a good or neutral outcome. The more positive you are, the more positive things will be drawn to you.

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  22. Zeenat9:03 AM

    Focus on the present moment,Ask yourself 2 crucial questions.Formulate an action plan to deal with the source of your worry. This helps relieve worry

    ReplyDelete
  23. Vandana9:34 AM

    A better way to worry is to recognize and accept worry for what it is with awareness, that is, be fully conscious of what you are doing while you are worrying.

    ReplyDelete

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