Most worries are made for nothing. Many books have been written on this subject in the literature. And all books are equally true. With the basic message that most worries are unnecessary.
I’m going to split the overview into:
– caring for the future
– concerns from the past
These worries both have the same thing in them, namely, that they can lead to endless thoughts that lead nowhere. They can cause you to lie awake at night, thinking and grinding about the future. Or that you sink into a feeling of melancholy and regret.
Caring for the future
I don’t think it’s possible to avoid thinking about the future. We humans are the only species that can do that. And that’s good. You try to make your life pleasant in the future.
However, the worries you have about the future are often cause to: become very long, many and especially negative or anxious. That’s because most concerns are devised with the most extreme effect.
It often turns out that most thoughts never come true. Either they don’t happen at all, or something completely different happens or something happens that’s only a fraction of what you imagined.
There is a huge difference between expectations and reality, which makes it possible to ask the question: how much energy does this cost and what does it ultimately yield?
Concerns from the past
These worries are mainly about memories of what used to be. With great pleasure you can think back to the past. When you were young, carefree because your mother took care of you. Or unpleasant thoughts of a plague past, being left out or even worse.
In both cases, they recall the past and evoke feelings. Feelings of melancholy and homesickness, to anger and sadness. In both cases, you can also get bogged down in thoughts and feelings that do not take you any further and cost you a lot of energy.
If you see this from a distance, you can lose quite a lot of energy.
Time to tackle that!!
In this light, I was struck by Bert Schierbeek’s poem about carefreeness. Google it… is really worth it.
By focusing less on the worries, you have much more energy left. Especially when you can surround yourself with carefreeness.
But how do you do that?
The goal, I think, is not so much to deny or ridicule the concerns, but to focus on achieving carefreeness.
If it is the case that most worries lead to misery and sadness, then you should shift the focus.
Don’t think about the worries, but what do you think about?
Answer: to that which is NOW.
In mindfulness, meditation, even yoga, they teach you to focus on what is NOW. Right now.
If you focus on that, you will notice that most (care problems) are not there, according to the theory.
I too have started working on this. I took a pillow from the barn, bought incense sticks and downloaded an app with meditation music.
Twice a day I sat (15 minutes) on that pillow, music in my ears, incense on and…….what now…… just sit?? Yes…and listen to the app.
The first times I thought it was really weird, my thoughts just kept going. I was thinking about the groceries, the garden, my parents, that it was nonsense… etc.. etc… Also, my family thought it smelled bad and they wondered what I was doing on that pillow.
But colleagues, who did the same, encouraged me to continue. And listen to the app and try to direct the thoughts.
My mind kept going in all directions for the first few days. But I thought, so many people do it. So there must be something in there that helps them.
So just keep pushing and stay on that cushion….
After about 3 weeks, I noticed a change. I was calmer than at the beginning and started to surrender to the commands in the app. I also noticed that the thoughts about worries in the future were not there for a while.
So that’s how this works. If you focus on what’s there now… Then you can’t think about later… You think about now.
I started to focus on what I’m experiencing now. The writing of this text, the sounds of the lawnmower outside, the smell of coffee, the feeling of the chair I’m sitting on… etc..
So here’s how this works: thinking about what you’re experiencing NOW makes you not think about the worries.
I kept doing this sitting on the pillow. But I also started to shift it. Occasionally, on the bike, in the store, etc.. ‘I try to focus on what’s THERE NOW. The air I breathe, the birds I hear, the sun shining, the other road users… etc.
They call it awareness in English. Consciously working with the NOW.
As with negative thoughts, I use my daughter’s rubber band. To remind me that NOW is all there is.
These activities, just as briefly, provide a carefree feeling. You don’t think about the worries for a while but experience the environment. You are present in the NOW…
I feel this is the right way to go, so I’m just going to keep it up. And I trust that I will reach the stage of carefreeness more often.
Maybe a bit short-sighted, but focus on what’s there now and you can’t think about the worries of tomorrow (or yesterday).