We live in an age of anxiety. The pace of life, the noise with which we are constantly surrounded, the need to keep up with others, all produce fear and anxiety in many people’s minds. Of course, some worries are inescapable. Many are trivial, and if we keep them in perspective and treat them philosophically, they do little harm. But how do we face the larger problems of life?
Let us consider briefly the practical
steps of dealing with our worries:
1. Bring them out into the open and look at them
Get a piece of paper and write down all that is worrying you. Many
of our worries are vague feelings and in
this way we make them explicit.
2. Analyse the various problems. What are the
facts about each situation? Facts – not feelings. We must be accurate not
3. Write down various alternatives. “if this
happens, what shall I do? What courses of action can I take?”
4. If a decision is possible, make it. Consider
the various possibilities and decide. Do not procrastinate unnecessarily.
William James, the great psychologist
used to say “It is better to take any action, right or wrong, than to worry
indefinitely”. If you make a wrong decision, you will at least know that you
did what seemed best in those circumstances. Very likely it will be a right
5. Act immediately. The very fact of having done
this will help you to deal with future worries.
6. Fix a “worrying time’. Set aside ten to
fifteen minutes a day to worry. Doing this means that you will not have to
worry all the time. Say to yourself: “I
will worry about it at 7.30 but not now”. When the time comes look at your list
and have a good worry about the things on it. You will soon realize how
ridiculous it is. If you look at your list again after a month you will be
surprised at how many of the problems have disappeared. You might even be able
to do without any worrying time at all.
This is a practical way of coping
with worry. But is there a way in which we can avoid it altogether? There are
certain simple steps which can be taken,
to develop a non – worrying attitude to life:
busy with other things. Worries come when the mind is unoccupied. You cannot
give your full attention to two things at once. Resolve to keep your mind
active at all times.
your speech. Often negative ideas emerge when we speak, and this encourages
worry. Speak cheerfully. If you catch yourself about to say something
depressive, stop and say something positive instead. This will also make you more acceptable to
other people. Nobody likes to be with someone whose talk is miserable.
each day to the full. Begin with an affirmation like: “I can do all things
through Christ who strengthens me”. Repeat it several times as you dress and
make up your mind that today you are doing to get the most out of every minute.
in the present. Dale Carnegie speaks about living in day – tight compartments.
He has discovered, like many others, that living one day at a time is the
remedy for all anxiety. Learn to live for today.
peace of mind. Fill your mind with thoughts of peace and joy. St. Paul gave
sound advice when he said: “Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are
of good report… think on these things”. In your leisure time build up a library
of memories – holiday memories if you
like or some book which inspires and helps you. If you use a little time each
day to think about these things, to read or to meditate, you will make a
collection of memories to fill your mind will peace and joy.
Don’t harbour grudges. Learn to
forgive and forget. malice we poison our own system. Forgiveness helps not only
the person who is forgiven, but also the person who forgives. So let bygones be
Count your blessings. The surest way
to peace of mind and confidence is learning to be thankful. Make a list of the
many things for which we ought to be thankful. It will never be complete. Every
night before you go to sleep spend the last five minutes in thinking of the
things for which you have been thankful during the day.
Go out of your way to create
happiness for others. Look around for someone who is in need of kindness and go
out of your way to show it. Approach people you meet, with the desire to create
happiness for them. A library of pleasant memories, learning to
forgive, counting our blessings, seeking to bring happiness to others – these
are ways to create peace of mind. All
these steps are simple, but many people have found that they lead to a
life which is free from worry and anxiety. When are you going to try them?