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Don't Stop Worrying

I read an interesting article in the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter about research on worry. According to this research, one should not try to stop worrying, but instead, find a good way to relate to it.

In the article, psychologists and researchers Erik Andersson and Tove Wahlund, authors of the book "Orosboken" ("The Worry Book"), discuss how to effectively manage worry. Based on their experience and the treatments they have encountered, they have developed five steps for handling worry:

  1. Distinguish between helpful and unhelpful worry.

  2. Set a time to try solving the problem causing the unhelpful worry. Test the solutions and evaluate them.

  3. Identify the unhelpful control behaviors caused by your worry. Try to perform them less often or at specific times.

  4. For worries about unsolvable problems: Try to detach from worrying thoughts by gaining more distance from them, making it clearer that they are thoughts and not truths.

  5. Outcompete the worry with an activity that requires your focus.

The program developed by the authors of "Orosboken" is somewhat reminiscent of how we handle worry through meditation.

Get Rid of Worry by Letting Go of Thoughts. Stockholm Meditation Guided Meditation. Meditation Teacher in Stockholm

A crucial difference in relation to how we view worry thoughts in meditation, however, is the insight that all our thoughts are false. This does not mean that the thoughts are necessarily incorrect; it simply means that they are not, and can never be, objectively true. Our thoughts merely reflect our subjective way of seeing the world.

When we let go of our thoughts—whether they are worry-related or not—both relief and intuitive wisdom emerge on how to deal with what lies ahead. We can then naturally see which types of thoughts are irrelevant and do not require action, and which ones we need to address. Many situations indeed require us to act and address our situation, but it becomes easier to tackle things if we have emptied our minds of distracting worrying thoughts.

The authors of "Orosboken" believe that one cannot simply "stop worrying." I completely agree. In my experience, it is actually better to do the opposite: really allow yourself to worry. If you try to ignore or suppress the worry, it only gets worse and leads to no development.

Best Meditation. Meditation for Beginners

When I guide our members at the center—especially after they have learned the method well—I therefore tell them to worry as much as they can but to let go of the thoughts at the same time. It requires us to dare to see our thoughts in order to let them go. Meditation is the tool for letting go, and the more we let go, the calmer our mind becomes automatically. It is a process, and over time you notice that the thousands of things you constantly worried about become fewer and fewer. Many of those who meditate with us find that they remain surprisingly calm, without being indifferent, in situations that can be really stressful, such as financial difficulties, conflicts, illness, or death.

Given this background, I think the tips highlighted in the article are good, but at the same time, I cannot help but feel that their method seems a bit too complicated. Of course, one should bear in mind that psychotherapy and meditation have different purposes. Therapy seeks to give us a way to manage worry and live a better life, while the purpose of meditation is to find our true self, which is free from worry and therefore naturally content. My view is that meditation goes straight to the point when it comes to dealing with worry feelings, while therapy might be seen as a slightly gentler approach. However, I believe the depth that meditation offers is unmatched if given a proper chance.

If one were to create a five-step program for dealing with worry thoughts through meditation, it might look something like this:

  1. Become aware of your thought and emotion patterns by looking inward.

  2. Do not shy away from your negative thoughts; let them come to you and dare to see what they are really telling you, i.e., what fear they express.

  3. Let them go with the help of meditation.

  4. Take every opportunity to let go, both when you sit and meditate but also in everyday life. The meditation method can always be used, and every situation is perfect for you!

  5. Repeat and do this over a longer period. Let meditation become a natural part of your life.

How to Learn to Meditate. Meditation Courses. Manage Anxiety

From a meditation perspective, it is not necessary to distinguish between productive and non-productive worry. You also do not need to set aside special time to worry. Instead, you constantly let go of your worry thoughts, which you can do both sitting in peace and in everyday life. Let's say we encounter a situation in life that makes us worried: great, this is a golden opportunity to let go of these thoughts! And the more you meditate, the more naturally and easily it becomes to always let go of your thoughts.

Meditation is not difficult, and as you let go of your worry thoughts, you will soon find a way forward with the help of the wisdom that emerges when the negative thoughts have disappeared. The only thing you need to learn is how you can always let go of your thoughts. The realization that this is possible gives a completely new perspective on existence and life. So, how do you achieve this? That is precisely what we teach at Stockholm Meditation. As always, I recommend everyone to start meditating.


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