Self-Transformation Series:
Issue No. 6

Handling Worry

Table of Contents

  1. Importance
  2. Guidelines for Dealing with Worry

I. Importance

Worry is one of the heaviest burdens of life. It comes regularly. It does not leave after a thing is supposedly finished. It comes even when the thing worried about is unlikely to happen. Worry causes ulcer, gray hair, wrinkles, illnesses, unhappiness, poor interpersonal relationship. To know how to handle worry, we must:

  1. understand the origin of worry
  2. appreciate the important role of worry in human problems
  3. look for an effective alternative that will replace worry
The reason why we worry is because worry is useful. It is a natural inclination for a person to protect himself/herself. And worry is an effective mechanism for such protection. For example, suppose you need to pay a bank loan within one week or else you will lose your house. You don't like the adverse consequence if you do not pay, and your mind automatically sets up its worry machine in order to remind you that you should do something about it. When a person does not worry about it and does nothing about it, we say that such a person is irresponsible and immature. We feel sorry if he loses his house, but we say at the same time that he deserves it.

Worry, therefore, serves an important self-protective role in life. The only problem is that it has harmful effects. It robs of us of sleep, happiness, and makes us sick. It lingers even when we can not do anything about a problem anymore. Therefore it is important that if we wish to eradicate worry in our life, we must have an effective substitute to worrying that will similarly help us do our best in solving a problem.

II. Guidelines for Dealing with Worry

Here are guidelines for dealing with worry:

  1. Be clear that you wish to remove worry in your life and find a better substitute to it. Such decision is vital to make you persevere in your effort to find a substitute to worry.

  2. Whenever you encounter a problem, determine that you will do your reasonable best to solve a problem.

  3. Be aware of your own resistance in carrying out possibilities to a solution. For example, you may have to talk to a friend about the loan. At the same time you may hesitate because you feel embarrassed to approach your friend. Be aware of this conflict and then make a decision whether it is important enough to risk embarrassment. After deciding, then do it. Another common obstacle is procrastination. Even if we know that something has to be done, we consciously delay it because it is unpleasant. Be aware of this resistance and decide whether you will allow this resistance to make you effective or not.

  4. Keep a daily list of things to do. Do not depend on your memory to do certain tasks that need to be done. Keep a "To-do" list and update it everyday. When something is in your list, be determined to do them and don't stop until you have done them for the day. If you did not finish an item, then put it again in the next day and try to accomplish it according to your timetable. This to-do list should be part of a wider list of things to do for the week or month or year. Live life with a purpose and clarify what things you want to accomplish or achieve. Then set a program and timetable on when you wish to reach them.

  5. Do your best, more than that is no longer your duty. Annie Besant, the famous reformer and theosophist, once said that in whatever she does, she does her best. Whatever is beyond her best is no longer her duty. She does not fret about what she is unable to accomplish or failed to achieve. Devise your own personal methods in systematically doing a task efficiently, and making sure that your personal habits do not stand in the way of their accomplishment.

  6. Do not worry about things you can do nothing about. Suppose you prepared very hard to pass an exam, then after taking the exam you are not sure whether you will pass or not. Do you worry about the results? This would be a waste of your energy and your own happiness. You have done your best, and whatever is the outcome you must learn to accept it.

  7. Learn to accept consequences. Suppose you took a college entrance exam of a prestigious school and failed. You may wish to inquire whether you can apply for reconsideration. But if you know that the outcome is final, then accept it with all its consequences. There is no point in crying over spilled milk. Clean the mess and go and get another bottle. Learn to accept consequences that you can't do anything about anymore. Suppose you lost an arm in an accident. You realize that this will entail so much inconvenience in your work, your personal chores, and your life in general. Do you worry about this? Do something about it but do not fret or worry about the consequences.

  8. Visualize and pray.

[Back to Menu][Your Comments]

Copyright 1995. Permission to reprint is granted provided acknowledgment is made to:
Peace Center
Theosophical Society in the Philippines, 1 Iba St., Quezon City, Philippines

"If five percent of the people work for peace, there will be peace."