Do you ever find yourself caught in a worry loop? It could be worrying about how something will play out in the future, or lamenting over a decision made in the past and what could have been if you had taken a different action. How do these worry loops affect us? I am afraid all they do is rob us of time and energy. The past cannot be un-done, it is impossible to fast forward to the future. All we have is right here, right now.
Fortunately we have plenty of options to divert our thoughts and relieve the cycle of worry or anxiety. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Netflix - all literally at our fingertips to let the eyes gaze and brain soak in some other content. Can this diversion remove us from the worry loop? Probably for a bit. Does it add any value to our life or help us learn how to self regulate our worry thought patterns? Probably not.
What if we could make peace with the fact that there is nothing we can do about what has already happened and there is no way to predict the future. Post worry stress and pre-worry stress are not very useful. Perhaps all of our post-worry stress is generated because something didn’t go as we wanted it to - or our pre-worry stress is the fear that something will not happen as we want it to. What if we could be at peace or accept what has happened and be content with the belief that all we really have any control over is the right here, right now. Can/should we plan for the future by having a sense of what we want to accomplish or who we want to be while here on this earth? Of course. But the more important thing to practice is the ability to not be desperately tied to what actually unfolds. Nothing is a given, especially at this scary time of a global pandemic.
A yoga practice is an opportunity to literally practice being in the present moment and observe our thoughts. Have you ever entered a balance pose that you held so well last week and today you can’t even stand on one leg for the pose much less hold it? Stop - where does your mind go? Does it go to “geez, I can’t believe I am falling over, I have been so great at this pose lately, everyone else looks so great, what the heck??” Or, does it go to “it’s okay, try again.” We come to our mat to spend time letting go of the outside world and just being present to the right here right now. Maybe we can take this practice off the mat and let go of the post-worry and pre-worry and just open our eyes and enjoy the goodness we find in the right here right now.
Hi - I am Michelle, wife of one, mother of three, long time yoga practitioner.