“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.”
- Thich Nhat Hanh
In our fast-paced Western society, worry has become a common and accepted element of day to day living. In fact, it would be abnormal to be free of worry and concern. This greatly differs from the accepted mindset of Eastern traditions, where the mind is believed to be the bondage that holds us back from true freedom.
The idea of worry comes from the fear of being unable to predict the events of tomorrow, and as such being unable to control how life s going to play out. We place such a high value on the idea of having control that even the idea of discord is difficult to accept. When you are unable to let go of this lack of ‘certainty’ in your life, it is time to reconsider the weight that you have allowed worry to play in your daily thoughts.
Letting go of worry is a challenge. Here are 6 teachings from Buddhist masters on how to let go of the worry in your life:
- Understand Your Mind
The human mind is constantly on the go, busy considering and analyzing every thought and idea that enters your life. This continuous flow of information is hard to control at times, and can easily become distracted. In order to focus, and clearly direct your thoughts to one subject you must be aware of what the ways in which your mind usually wanders, and knowing this information, work to break this habit.
- There May Not Always Be an Answer
When you are in the throes of worry and concern, this is the last thing that you want to hear BUT there may not always be an answer for the situations that worry you. When you are worrying, this is a result of feeling ‘out of control,’ however, there are a number of situations in life where NO ONE is going to be in control. The sooner you acknowledge this fact, the better!
- Address Your Fears
A lot of the things you worry about stem from your deep-rooted fears. If for example, you fear the idea of being alone you will find that you are more likely to worry about situations in which you believe people may leave you. Rather than focusing just on the worry, focus instead on facing the larger fear that underlies your concern, tackling it head on.
- Take a Step Back
If you find yourself consumed with worry, the best thing you can do is take a step away from the situation. Allow your mind to refocus, and return with an unbiased, clear way of thinking. This will allow you to view the situation with an objective lens and make an educated decision.
- Practice Mindfulness
The act of practicing mindfulness involves focusing on the problem at hand as it is today, without being distracted by the future. This will help to cut back on your worrying dramatically as many of the things we find ourselves worrying about are still in the future. Focus your attention on life today and let go of the anxiety of what is yet to come.
- Acknowledge that Worrying is Counterproductive
From an entirely practical standpoint, it is easy to see that worrying doesn’t accomplish anything. Wasting the time and energy of those who partake, focusing on situations that may or may not ever present themselves, it’s hard to find any redeeming aspects to this habit. Knowing this, let it go! If you believe that it is not going to benefit you, why indulge?