Worry and Stress | An Article on Happiness
My shoulders pain because of worry and stress.
My head seems heavier sometimes.
It seems like something inside is eating me up, slowly and consistently.
I try not to think about the future, I try to find peace and happiness, but it all seems futile.
This article is for those who are worried and stressed in their life.
This article is for those who are unhappy with their current life and wants to achieve success and fulfillment.
If you are one of those people, you will undoubtedly learn something new from this article.
Worry and stress
Our mind’s primary job is survival.
The decision our mind takes is always in our best interest, according to our mind.
It keeps searching for the problems we have, real or imaginary, and tries to solve them.
So, if everything is already all right with you in the present, your mind will find something to solve.
Perhaps, it is the broken relationship you had last year.
You are over with your breakup, but suddenly, you find disturbance inside you when everything was alright.
Why he treated you that way? Why she left me? Etc.
Our creative mind leads this event to a second thought: Why am I always the victim? Why doesn’t God want me to be happy?
And before you know, your day is ruined with negative emotions, and you are back to your older self.
Your mind was just searching for problems to solve.
Instead of solving, it added more.
Why did this happen?
Worry and stress are related to the future.
It has nothing to do with the present.
What will you do with your life? What happens if you fail to submit your project before time?
What happens if you fail the exams?
There are so many problems your mind can find out.
So, to solve the problems, your mind suggests you take some actions.
It pushes you.
You work hard, but the more you work, the problems seem to grow bigger.
Your mind can never solve the problem or worry and stress because your mind is the problem itself.
You can never have peace or joy when you dwell in the past or present.
Your true self
You are not your mind.
Your true self is a being, who lives in the moment, this moment.
You may have experienced this in your life.
Sometimes, when you are mentally tired and can’t think, you accept the day and don’t want to push yourself anymore.
You feel peace and joy inside you.
This is your true self.
Your true self doesn’t worry about the following year, next week, the next day or the next minute.
It cares only this moment.
It only stays with the present, with the truth.
But, your mind is always connected with time, past or future.
It cannot stay in the present or at this moment.
Because at this moment, there is no thought, no judgment, no worry or stress.
As mentioned above, worry or stress arise from future events.
If we go deeper, worry and stress arise from unacceptance.
We will talk in detail about acceptance in the later article.
Most of us are identified with the mind.
We think we are the mind.
The moment we detach ourselves from the mind, we find freedom and happiness.
We realize worry and stress are just an illusion of the mind.
But, detaching yourself from the mind is not easy.
Your whole life, you have identified your mind as you, and you cannot just find your true self in an instant.
Though difficult, not impossible.
We all crave something.
Some crave money, car, relationships, good health, success, and some crave enlightenment, spirituality, no stress and worry, happiness, etc.
The moment you desire or crave something, you have identified your mind with you.
Because cravings or desires are always attached to the future.
Someday you will be successful; someday, you will be happy, someday you will travel the world. Today, you will write ten pages, read 50 pages, finish your tasks, do this, and do that, etc.
Everything is in the future, which again is just an illusion of the mind.
Future is not true, nor the past.
What true is present, this moment.
Craving creates pain, worry, and stress.
Once you fail to achieve your goals or stay behind your goals, you find pain, worry, and stress bubbling inside you.
So, does this mean we should not have any goals, should not hope for anything?
Without goals and hope, there is no light.
Without light, there is no happiness.
We should have goals in our life; we should know which direction we are traveling in the present moment, but what we should avoid is the attachment to the goals.
We should cut the string of attachment to our goals.
Again, if we know where we are going and stay in the present, we will achieve our goals sooner than we know.
This concept is difficult to understand until you start living in the moment.
We will discuss below how to practice living in the moment.
Why do we need to worry about the next moment when we have the present moment to deal with?
The problems for which you are worried and stressed will be dealt with at the moment when the problems may arise.
We cannot solve our problems with worry and stress.
We know this; still, we find it difficult to stop worrying.
Because we are currently attached to our mind now, and the mind is always attached to the future or past.
It is difficult to accept that we may die ‘average.’
It is difficult to accept that we may not achieve our goals and dreams.
We have already designed our future self, and it is too difficult to accept that we may not be that future self ever.
You have attached yourself to that future self; this gives you a certain pleasure by just imagining it.
You will have material wealth, a loving family, roaming the world, etc.
If somebody says that all these dreams you are having are false, and you will not have it, stress, worry, pain, and anger will surface on you.
We are so attached to the future self that our negative emotions start to stir when someone threatens us with failure.
The someone can be ‘time.’
Once we miss a day of our practice, once we do not meet the deadlines, once we fail to report, etc., our future self gets in danger.
So, the mind constantly pushes you to meet your goals, work hard, or you will not have that future self.
You work hard because you want that loving future.
You cannot accept failure, so you push more, but the results you are hoping for still don’t seem anywhere.
It doesn’t seem like you are reaching your goals. No matter how hard you work, you are still far away from the future self.
You go to bed crying, and the next day when your mental energy returns, you push even stronger with increased worry and stress.
The more you push today, the bigger your expectation becomes for tomorrow.
After some time, when you are mentally exhausted because most of your energy is taken by stress and worry, you feel ashamed and angry about yourself.
These negative emotions take the remaining energy you have.
If you don’t have the energy to pursue your goals, how will you achieve anything in life?
Now, to deal with these negative emotions, we take temporary relief, like smoking, video games, alcohol, etc.
But what if you don’t care about the outcome of your work?
Acceptance doesn’t mean accepting failure; acceptance means accepting the present, accepting the truth.
‘Now’ is the truth.
You are already at this moment.
You don’t need to bring yourself to the present.
You are always in the present; you are always here.
Who knows if you are going to be rich or poor in the future.
Who knows if you are going to have a loving family or not.
You don’t know that in the present, and nobody knows that.
The only thing you know is that you have a choice at this moment, and this choice will lead to a certain path which again, leads to a certain destination.
You don’t know how long you will walk in that path, and you don’t need to know.
Just make a choice for this moment, then next, then next.
Acceptance is stopping the craving for a loving future.
Acceptance is, living in the present.
Become the watcher
There are constant voices in your mind.
Pay attention; it is constantly saying something.
While I am writing this article, my mind keeps saying that, are you going to finish this article?
Are you going to publish this today?
What are you going to write next?
What are you going to eat this evening?
Will you go for the run this evening?
Why are you writing about me? It will not help anyone, stop it and play video games.
The interesting thing is, once I start to pay attention to my inner voices, it stops.
Once I become the watcher of the unconscious voices, it lost the power to influence me.
I come back to the present.
Also, along with the voice, there are images and clips that run in our minds.
A clip from childhood experience, or a clip or images from the recent youtube cat video.
These images, clips, and voices have the power to influence you to take action.
Without even your conscious thought, you do something that wastes your time, and you regret it later.
But, if you become the watcher of these voices, images, and clips, it starts to lose its power.
After then, you make a conscious decision on the present.
From now on, pay attention to these voices, along with the watcher itself.
Sometimes, the watcher itself becomes the representation of the mind if we were unaware of our thoughts.
When I say watcher, it means the conscious self, the true self.
Don’t get confused between conscious and unconsciousness.
Things you do, things you think without awareness, are the work of the mind.
Once you start watching your thoughts, actions, and emotions, your journey to find your true self begins.
The true self doesn’t have any ego.
It is an illusion of the mind that creates our ego.
The ego is essential for survival, according to our minds.
So, the mind tries to protect our ego at any cost.
Again, the mind link happiness and pain with ego.
If you win an argument, your ego wins, and you feel happy that you have won.
Again, if the mind sees that a situation threatens your ego, it creates various negative emotions so that you take action to protect the ego.
Emotions like fear, stress, worry, anger, etc.
But our mind, as mentioned above, works with time, future and past.
It contemplates that sooner or later, you have to submit your work, file your income tax, work very hard to reach your goals, may not get your promotion because of the new boy, you may not become first in the class, etc.
If you don’t solve these problems, your ego will be affected.
So, to protect your ego from probable future harm, it tries to prepare you in the present.
But, the mind doesn’t work in the present.
The moment you start working for the future, you lost touch with the present.
You only do something because you need to protect your ego, not because you love it.
The ego is very powerful.
We may not even be aware of how far we can go to protect it.
You don’t accept your fault to someone, who is way below your age, just because your ego will be shattered.
The mind thinks it will lead to unhappiness and pain.
In truth, it leads to freedom.
While the ego leads to chaos, war, unhealthy relationship, etc.
The ego cannot survive in the present because the ego is a fragmentation of the mind.
Once you start living in the moments, the ego disappears.
Once the ego disappears, your worry and stress disappear.
Why you need to worry when there is nothing to protect.
Watching your thoughts and emotions is the most powerful tool you have for consciousness.
But, watching is not easy.
You once live a moment in total awareness, and the next moment you are thinking about what you are going to eat for dinner.
Though, it is difficult, not impossible.
Practicing mindfulness will increase the duration of your awareness and improve your quality of life.
Practice mindfulness in your daily life.
Include mindfulness meditation, but don’t attach yourself to it.
Who knows if you are going to do the meditation tomorrow or not.
Only the moment will tell.
Again, practice mindfulness in your daily tasks.
While washing your clothes, become present in every moment.
If any unconscious thinking arises, just pay attention to the thinking.
You don’t need to judge, get angry or try to stop it.
Just be aware that you are thinking this and that.
Pay attention to how you wash the clothes, how the water is flowing, how the dirt is moving away.
This is the present, you are here washing your clothes, and all the thoughts you are having are just an illusion of your mind.
In mindfulness meditation, I pay attention to my breath.
The inflow and outflow of every breath with every moment.
I don’t care about the next breath or the future breaths.
I care about this breath, and the more I practice, the more liberating I feel.
This is something you will realize once you start practicing mindfulness meditation
Accept what you have today, what you are today because this is the truth.
Become aware when you are thinking about the future and past.
All you need to do is live at this moment because nobody knows about tomorrow.
If tomorrow is certain, there would have been no worry and stress in the first place.
Again, tomorrow cannot be certain because there is no tomorrow.
It is only this moment.