Stop Worrying and Start Succeeding

Photo by Luke Byrne

By Marcia Sirota MD

We all worry.


Although worrying isn’t that uncommon, some people make a real art form of it. These folks worry constantly, about almost everything, with terrible effects on their lives.

The thing is, worrying in and of itself is a useless activity. People believe that it serves a purpose but while a bit of worrying helps you to discharge some nervous energy, the only thing excessive worrying does is create a lot of suffering.

Here are three things that worrying won’t do for you:

1: Worrying won’t prepare you for anything.

In fact, the best preparation for life’s challenges is to be calm, grounded in reality, alert and aware; responsive to the situation at hand and confident in your ability to problem-solve, be adaptable and be resilient.

2: Worrying won’t protect you from anything.

You can worry ’til the cows come home, but it won’t keep you safe. The way to be safe in life is to use common-sense, trust your intuition (inner wisdom) and feel fully entitled to establish clear boundaries and stand up for yourself when necessary.

3: Worrying won’t prevent anything.

Some people superstitiously believe that by worrying, they’ll fend off bad luck. Sadly, worrying has zero effect on what will or won’t happen to you.

You can’t 100% prevent bad things from happening, but you can definitely improve your odds by doing some basic, common-sense things like taking good care of your health, not putting yourself in high-risk situations and having a healthy attitude. Worrying is counter-productive.

Here are four things that worrying will do for you:

1: Worrying will make you unhappy.

The more you worry, the more likely it is that you’ll feel as bad as if the thing you’ve been worrying about had actually happened. If the bad thing never happens, you’ve been worrying – and miserable- for nothing, and if the bad thing does come to pass, shouldn’t you have been enjoying your time as much as possible, beforehand?

2: Worrying will make you unhealthy.Worrying creates stress. Constant stress causes you to release excess stress hormones. These promote weight gain; they raise your blood pressure and blood sugar. Excess stress promotes cardiovascular disease; it depresses your mood and your immunity, making you more susceptible to illnesses of all types, and as a nice bonus, it increases your wrinkles and prematurely turns your hair grey.

3: Worrying will make you less smart.

When you’re constantly worrying about the future, it’s impossible to be fully in the present. When you’re not fully in the present, you can’t be in touch with the best parts of yourself. When you can’t access your most unique, special inner resources, you’re unable to fulfill your intellectual potential.

4: Worrying will impede your success.

When you’re busy worrying, you’re not busy being creative or productive. Worrying is exhausting; it can be paralyzing, even. It distracts you from the obvious solutions to your problems and makes your mind foggy when it needs to be clear. The more you worry, the less successful you’ll be, compared to how you could do, if your mind was calm, focused and clear.

So how do you stop worrying? It comes down to a very simple concept: self-trust.

When you trust yourself to face and deal with the situations that arise in your life, you can stop worrying and instead, go through life in a state of calm preparedness.

Mindfulness is a big part of calm preparedness, as the mindful state is one of being fully awake and engaged in each moment, without denial, avoidance, rationalization or panic.

When you can be calm and mindful, self-trust naturally follows and worrying becomes irrelevant. At this point, all your faculties can be put to good use in the pursuit of happiness and success.

As Bobby McFerrin so aptly put it…

Don’t worry, be happy!

This article has been republished from Om Times