Today I wanted to share something I learned about worrying and a concept I learned from Gay Hendricks, the author of ‘The Big Leap’.
In one of his lectures, Hendricks mentioned that worrying is purely a sign of reaching our ‘upper limit’ of happiness. The concept is simple. A worry appears in your mind when we are in a peaceful and happy place only to boycott our own happiness. No other purpose whatsoever.
Of course, Hendricks explains it much better so I suggest you refer to his books and lectures but I’ll give it a try. Imagine you are going about your day, doing something, whatever it is that you are doing, maybe having a shower in the morning, driving/cycling to work, at work or at home, washing the dishes, etc and all is fine when suddenly you get a negative thought and you start worrying about something. It might have to do with the most random thing or the most obvious worry. Let’s say you start worrying about your boss not having replied to your email yesterday and that might mean bad news, or your son not being able to cope with the injection he’ll get in school next week, or how full the bins are or when was the last time I watered the plants and they are dying, or when was the last smear test I got and when I’m due the next one as I might have cervix cancer. All the worries are real thoughts. But why now? Why now that you are minding your own business doing your things? Hendricks says it means that ‘you’ve reached your upper limit’.
According to Hendricks, you would not let yourself be any happier than that previous moment, just before the worry appeared. ‘That was enough. You didn’t deserve anymore happiness.’ You yourself boycotted your happiness and brought that negative thought into that specific moment. From that moment on, your mind made sure your thoughts got more and more negative until there was no going back to that peaceful place. Sounds familiar?
When I heard this first I couldn’t see it that clearly. So for the next while I tried to become conscious of the moments I got worry/negative thoughts to see if I could experiment this pattern. It wasn’t easy to step back when I got worried, of course. But the moment I could do it and observe my own behaviour, I could confirm this is exactly the case. And I also confirmed that there is absolutely nothing beneficial about those negative thoughts. Their only purpose is to bring me down.
This was such an insight for me! It’s been fascinating and at the same time a bit sad thinking of the amount of time I had spend worrying in my whole life. But no point crying over spilled milk now, is there?
So, what can we do about this?
Firstly, awareness alone can help. Once you have realised this pattern and you can see the mind trick, you are already a step into the solution. Next time you find yourself worrying about something, think about what was happening the moment before that. Were you in a peaceful moment by any chance? So sneaky!
Secondly, just breath a few deep breaths and move that worry away. Be conscious of the pattern and the fact that it’s only your mind tricking you. You don’t need that negative thought. OUT!
Just by doing that, you will have increased your ‘upper limit’ of happiness. Continue with your life as normal.
Repeat the above as many times as needed, until you recognised that your upper limit of happiness is not reached as often as before.
I’m floating with the thought that we can control our minds and we can go further, have more peaceful moments and make happiness moments last longer. So powerful!
NEXT WEEK: The Easiest and Most Effective Way to Meditate!