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Overcoming Worry

It's about reframing

Person resting next to a railing in a wooded area
photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash

Do you often find yourself churning over something, worried about whether it will turn out alright? How do you get past this? I heard something in a class I’m taking that really struck me:

Fear, doubt and anxiety are all symptoms of belief in a negative future.


This is from Shariff Abdullah, who did an interview for this blog a couple years ago. He then he went on to say that it takes just as much energy to think about a positive future, so why not do that instead?

I realized he’s right. The future hasn’t happened yet. I often worry about things that might occur. But I rarely worry about what’s already happened—it’s in the past, it’s a known quantity. What I fear is the unknown.

This is so helpful!

I’m grappling with multiple challenges right now with work, the house and planning for the future. It’s really easy to slip into worry mode, picturing all the things that can go wrong. But if I turn it around and start thinking about the future I do want, I turn that anxiety into positive action. When I start picturing a positive future, I start to see the steps I can take to make that future happen. Now all that energy I’ve been wasting on worry can get channeled into a positive force for change.

How not to worry

So the next time you start worrying about something, first stop for a moment. Take a breath. What, exactly, is the negative future you are afraid might happen?

Then take a moment and ask yourself: What is the positive future I do want? Picture it as clearly as you can. Keep it in your thoughts and add more details as you go. See what action steps emerge. Then, as Shoghi Effendi said, “act as if it had all been accomplished.”

What was that class all about?

Now, I know you’re wondering… what kind of class talks about this kind of thing? Shariff has created an online class called Your Imaginal Self: Your Personal Guide to Transformation. It addresses how we, as individuals, can respond to the multiple crises our world is facing in the overlapping realms of ecology, economics, government, food, housing, etc. The title refers to the butterfly story, which describes the “imaginal” cells inside the caterpillar who know how to build the butterfly. You can learn more about Shariff’s work at Commonway Institute.

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