Worry is one of the most constant factors in human life today. Irrespective of the age, the profession the individual is in he or she harbors some worry or the other. To worry is natural but what is harmful is persistent worrying. Our minds are tuned to planning for worst case scenarios and find visualizing best outcomes very difficult.
Why do people worry?
A weak student worries about passing and an intelligent one worries about topping the class, making the cut in a competitive examination, or getting selected in an interview. Parents worry about children who in turn are worried about what parents will think. Some professionals are worried about losing job while others are worried about meeting deadlines or getting promoted. Most people are worried about what others will think.
Somehow most people have the feeling that it is because of their worrying that things work out well for the family or the organisation. Even I suffered from this syndrome for long.
Why is worry such a constant in our lives? One of the main reasons for worrying is our habit of trying to imagine the future. Yes, imagination is one of the key factors for being prepared and succeeding in life. But unfortunately, it is imagination which also helps the fear of unknown/ fear of failure to grow and affect the human mind. The other reason is people aiming for perfection or having unrealistic expectations from themselves. Trying to be perfect or be the best always. It is not humanly possible someone somewhere will surpass you at some point of time.
It is the overthinking mind which is normally the most worried. That is why a child is hardly ever worried because he lives in the present, does not think too much about the future. Unfortunately, the parents and the teachers only train the child to pass examinations. No one prepares him/ her to face rejections or failures. Yes, teach him/ her to fly high but it is also necessary for the child to understand that there will be turbulence encountered and how he should deal with it. It is these perceived failures which lead to worry.
How to get better of worries?
People resort to various activities to overcome the worry to include meditation, practicing mindfulness and even seeking professional advice. I found my own way of tackling anxiety as discussed in the following paras.
Prepare well. Worry is not bad but over worrying or sticking with it is. Yes, a student or a presenter should think about the questions which the members from audience/ examiner may ask and should prepare accordingly. But once prepared there should not be a cause for worry. They should understand that one single person cannot have answers to all questions; every inquisitive mind cannot be satisfied. A presenter should also understand that no one in the audience is more prepared than him/her.
Live in the present. We all understand that worrying about future does not help but still worry. We got learn from the child the art of living in the present and enjoying it. Not easy to do but can be achieved. The day one understands that the future will come one day at a time and can be handed accordingly the need to worry will cease.
Set realistic expectations. It is true for both elders/ seniors and junior to set realistic expectations. It is the pressure of expectations which kills innovation and causes unnecessary worries.
Learn to face rejections. Fear of failure is the leading cause of worry. Children should be trained that success and failures are both part of life. One can only prepare well and hope for the best. They should understand that failures open doors to many opportunities. They give time to reflect and re-think the path the individual was following till that time.
Learn from the past. When overtly worried one can always relate to the outcomes of the past, how good or bad it was. Often you would have come out of that situation and thrived not just survived. Once you have been through bad situations you are better prepared to face them the next time, the need to worry should be that much less. Learn to challenge your fears.
Discuss with friends/ mentors. It is better to speak about your worry with close friends or a mentor. They will definitely help you in finding solutions. Speaking out releases the pressure from the mind and helps in calming down. Brainstorming will help in finding whether the perceived problem is solvable or not. If the problem is solvable, you will find the solution and if it is not solvable why worry about it.
Stop worrying about opinions. Most of us get overtly worried about what others will think or talk about us. It is good to listen to opinions and pick up the good from them to improve. But your decisions cannot be solely based on some else’s opinion. Seek opinions to help you better your future performance but unsolicited opinions are best left alone.
I learnt quite late that persistent worrying does not help in bettering life. If it all it helps is in ensuring you get a receding hairline very early in life. I had grey hairs by the age of 35 and had lost most of my hairs by 45. My only advice to the youth is that it is not worth losing your hair for things you have no control over. Just do your bit well, accept the result, do an even better job the next time. Once you learn this, you will live happy thereafter.