Does it seem like more people are worrying about more things most of the time? We’ve survived the COVID 19 pandemic, there is war raging Ukraine, not to mention the ongoing war in Syria, climate change is accelerating and we’re in the midst of economic uncertainty and inflation.
People are also dealing with issues on a personal level including health issues, with the backlog from the pressures put on global healthcare systems from the pandemic, relationship challenges, financial pressures and career uncertainty. It is hard not to worry and discouraged when we look at the state of the world and our own individual lives.
However, this is not the only time that we have faced global uncertainty. We only have to look back a century to World War I and II and the Great Depression when the world looked bleaker than it does now. Humanity, somehow, survived those calamities and showed its resilience in the most difficult of circumstances. There are lessons that we can learn from history and apply them to our lives when we are facing circumstances that fill our hearts and minds with dread and worry.
The first lesson is that most situations always seem worse than they actually are. Do you remember the last five things you worried about? If you look back you will probably find that your anxiety was not justified because everything turned out okay. Therefore, most worry is unjustified.
The second lesson is that worry can easily take over your physiology but you must gain control over this in order to deal with the situation that is causing the worry. The way to do this is to simply focus on your breathing and take slow, deep, diaphragmatic breaths through the nose with a pause at the end of each exhale. Doing this will activate the parasympathetic part of your autonomic nervous system, which his involved in the relaxation response and will allow you to deal with any situation, you may be facing, with greater ease.
The third lesson is that you cannot let worry overtake your mind when you are facing a difficulty or a challenge. The way to temper any worry that you are feeling is to come up with an action plan to deal with the situation in question and to take the very first step in that action plan. This will reinforce, in your mind, that there is something you can do to deal with what is causing your worry and will help to put your mind at ease as you navigate the challenge you are facing.
The fourth lesson is that once you are on the other side of the situation, that caused the worry, congratulate yourself for dealing with it with grace and composure, In addition, write down all the lessons that you have learned from this experience because any challenge that we face is always our greatest teacher. This way, you will be able to refer to these lessons the next time you face a situation that triggers anxiety and worry.
As you can see, there is no need to worry about anything in your life, if you are able to maintain your composure and calm and apply these four lessons to all situations that arise in your life. In doing so, you will be able to live your life with greater joy and serenity and meet any challenge head on with unswerving commitment and resolve and witness your personal transformation.
Dr. Nauman Naeem,