I thought it might help some folks if I shared letter written to my partner, Darren, who is a 'self-help' author. One of his readers, Edwin, came to him for help over his financial worries and anxiety, and Darren offered him some methods to deal with the strife he was experiencing. Edwin put these methods into action and found he was able to break out of the cycle of worry he was stuck in and start moving forward.
We were so happy to hear that Edwin had been able to release himself from his stress, that we asked him to write a guest article for Darren's website, to share his experiences with everyone.
Here's the article. I hope these tips and pointers can help you to break the cycle of worry too:
Recently I received an email from a reader of The Realization System, Edwin Witsen, who told me that he felt trapped in an endless loop of worry and anxiety. Edwin wanted to know if I had any suggestions. Though I am not one that likes to give advice, I am always happy to offer my viewpoint in the hope that my understanding of such things can be used by the individual to whom I offer it. The result of our email conversation led to the following article, written by Edwin himself. If you're afflicted with undue anxiety, worry or concern, perhaps you might find something in this article to help you. Thank you Edwin for taking the time to write it.
Don't let worries get the best of you!
I have my own business - a shop that I took over from my father. It is a business I literally grew into. During the 2002/2003 recession my company got into bad weather, and I have been struggling to get out of it ever since.
During the last years, I became familiar with concepts such as the Law of Attraction, which in turn led me to discover Darren's The Realization System. I learned that my struggling was not only a waste of energy, it was actually working against me. So, I eagerly started to practice the Mindbeat technique (from The Realization System) using the suggestion "better business every day"). It didn't take long to get some results from it.
However, the day to day problems continued to get the best of me. It is hard, very hard in fact, to stay positive when you're aware of your debts and their looming repayment deadlines, and when you know that there is not enough in the bank account to keep your promises to the people you owe them too. Yes, for The Realization System to work, you have to trust it to work, but when you haven't had one of those typical moments that can be considered proof that the Law of Attraction is not just a bunch of mumbo jumbo nonsense, trust, or maybe faith certainly isn't enough - not for me at least.
The worries kept going through my mind, looping from beginning to end and back to the start again, increasing my fear and anxiety with each loop. They drained me of the energy I needed to get through the day so badly that there came a point where I was ready to give up, and I actually did for a while. At one point I simply sat on a chair and sat blankly looking at the computer screen without actually seeing what was on it, as my thoughts replayed over and over the same problems in my head - again and again.
I felt that I could Mindbeat all I wanted, but nothing would come out of it when I kept my daytime attention on worries about money!
If this has ever occurred to you, or if you are presently experiencing such a loop, please keep reading, because I may just have the answer for you!
It was in my despair that I sent an email to Darren asking him for advice and although he explained he was not a qualified therapist, he was nonetheless happy to share his perspective - and boy did he ever! Not only did he communicate some very useful tips that I am going to share with you in this article, he also helped me realize something about the nature of worry.
My realization about the nature of worry can best be explained through an analogy that I struck me when I broke my worry loop. The way worry and anxiety continue to loop around in your mind is analogous to an atom. We all know that an atom is the basis of all matter in our world, and we perceive it to be 'solid'. However the atom is actually made up of a core (a nucleus) that is surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus itself contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons. Without going into a more technical explanation, the point I am alluding to is the fact that both the nucleus as well as the cloud of negatively charged electrons looping around it are basically energy, 'trapped' by the looping electrons swirling around them. This single atom, this tiny microscopic piece of matter that appears to be solid, is actually made out of an enormous amount of energy. Ever since man has been able to break the loophole, he has been able to release the energy, and of course one of the most dramatic demonstrations of this can be seen in the energy release of an atom bomb.
In context with the analogy, as long as we are still looping our worries (electrons) around our problem (nucleus), all our energy goes into that loop, making our problem 'solid matter' or seemingly impossible to overcome. As soon as we figure out how to break the worry loop all the energy is released, and we find out that not only has our problem ceased to become solid, but that we are also immediately blessed with an enormous amount of energy - energy that has been freed from the loop of keeping the object of our worry solid. The result is we now have more energy available to help us take action.
How do we do this ? How do we break the loop?
Well, I took the liberty of turning Darren's tips into a system that works for me.
First let me tell you what he said to me when I asked him how to eliminate my worries:
| Let me just say the first thing to realize is that you do not have to eliminate worry - as long as you are a human being doing so is impossible. We are creatures of energy, and all the varying emotions we can experience are merely different states or actions - or motions - of this energy. The duality of life as a human being means that just as we cannot experience hard without soft, so too are we unable to experience the constructive without the destructive. |
So the first thing to realize is that the energy state we call 'worry' is always going to be there, just as all our other energy states will always be there. The beauty of this realization is the knowledge that when worry arises that's ok, its natural. With this understanding you have the immediate knowledge that you do not need to try to eliminate it - because you can't and any attempt to do so would be, well, a waste of your energy.
He then said:
| The second thing to realize is that your entire issue relates purely to the direction of your thoughts. It is not an issue of 'worry' as much as it is an issue of 'attention'. |
Fear can often be baseless, but Fear is also an in-built method of protection that is useful and necessary tool that helps keep us safe. In the same way, and as a manifestation of fear, 'worry' can also be twofold - it can be baseless, or it can be a useful message designed to help keep us safe.
Think about that for a moment - worry is either baseless, or it is there to help us! Makes you wonder why you were ever concerned about worry doesn't it, when you view it for what it is!
His next statement was the real cruncher for me:
| The trick is to approach all worry with a single outlook that will determine a) if it is baseless, or b) if it is a message designed to help keep you safe and, if it is the latter, what to do about it. Here it is: |
View all worry as the seed of constructive action.
You know worry will arise because it is a natural part of being human, so just let it. When it does, ask yourself, "What specifically am I worried about?". Make it your objective to question your worry with the sole purpose of finding out what specifically the worry is based upon - what it relates to exactly.
The real key to overcoming worry is to see each worry as a specific message that is telling you to think constructively towards finding a way to overcome the real source of the worry rather than the end result that the worry is fixated on.
As you hone down on the specifics of the worry, you may even find that your way to an 'I don't know what I'm worried about' response, which in turn may indicate it is a baseless one. Determining that it is baseless can happen in a variety of ways, but often when you hit a wall that says, 'I really don't know what I'm worried about' then that's great! Why is it great? Because you will know that worry can't hurt you if the object of the worry is 'nothing'.
Remember that nearly every worry we ever have is about a result, rather than a cause. Instead of placing your attention upon 'what might happen' place your attention on 'why it might. Once you've narrowed down to the 'why it might', you will have enough specific information to place your attention on answering the question 'what can I do about it?'. Once you have a few ideas about what you can do you can switch your attention to the how - how can you make those whats happen? - and then of course YOU DO IT. All the why's, what's, how's and do's are all attention magnets that pull your attention away from the destructive loop of worry in favor of the constructive side of creative action.
Just as you don't fight the dark, you simply turn the light on, don't fight your worry, see it as a tool that you are fortunate to have!
How to take control of your worries
Step one: Write it down!
Write down your fear or worry. Sometimes there are several things bugging you, so just write them all down.
Step two: Can you fix it ?
Break down your worry using questions with the purpose of finding out if there is something you can do about it or not.
If you can't do anything about it, just accept it - most of the time if there's nothing you can do, it's because the worry is baseless.
If what you are worried about is not baseless, write down what options you have. Don't focus on the event you are worried about - focus on the thing that you think might cause that event. Question the worry to find this cause.
In most cases, there is more than one option - write down all your options, even those you don't favor and even those that at first glance appear out of your reach or that you feel you couldn't possibly make work. Just write all the options down.
Step three: Fix it !
Like the Law of Attraction, nothing will happen if you don't act. Pick your favorite solution, or if you don't like your options, either return to step two and brainstorm more options, or pick the one you dislike the least. The circle of worry will not be broken until you pick an option and begin to take constructive action on the message - just do it.
As a bonus, not only does taking action free you from your worry, it also rewards you with an incredible amount of energy to do whatever it takes.
So, there it is, my way out of my loop of worries !
As soon as I overcame my loop of worries, I realized that I had something valuable here, and suggested to Darren that he write about it on his blog. After all, there must be other people with the same problem of constantly worrying like myself. Darren responded by asking me to do it for him - and for a good reason. He explained that his understanding of anything always catapults whenever he sits down and writes about the subject in a format designed for someone else to follow. He suggested that by writing an article on how to overcome worry that it might work in the same way for me and, in turn, my experience would then help others who read it.
So this is my article. Of course, I am not free from worry (in fact, I received 2 final notices from the IRS in my mailbox while writing this article ) but now I also understand that I don't have to be. I know that my worries are simply messages telling me I need to take action. Just like the atom analogy, I know that worry is a waste of energy and as I take constructive action, all the energy I need to be successful can be taken from the worry itself.
All I have to do is apply my three steps, and my mind will shift from the destructive loop of fear to the constructive path of creating solutions.
I sincerely hope this article helps you do the same.