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Meditation And The High Cost Of Worry

Drag your thoughts away from your troubles… by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it. 

-Mark Twain

Worrying has an incredible cost. I estimate that through the course of an average workweek about 80% of waking time is spend worrying about something.

Worry about being late for a meeting. Worry about public speaking. Worry about dealing with a co-worker. Worry about dealing with a manager. Worry about how a project will turn out. Worry about an upcoming performance review.

Worry comes at a cost.

Blood pressure issues. Stomach ulcers and digestive problems. Eating disorders. Insomnia. Worry is no joke. People die young due to stress and anxiety induced health issues.

Beyond the physical I think the biggest cost is that when you worry you miss out on what is actually happening in the world. Worry is only possible when you are dwelling on the past or projecting some situation into the future. If you catch yourself worrying a lot, you are certainly not present to what is really going on.

Your kids. Your co-workers. Your friends. All your relationships become tainted when worry has a grip on you. Mr. Carnegie has a nice tip for dealing with worry if it keeps you from sleeping:

If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying.  It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.  ~Dale Carnegie

I like meditation as proactive way to eliminate worry. I believe that like any other skill, freeing yourself from worry is no different that losing a few pounds, learning a language or a new sport. It can be trained. The most powerful training is mediation.

Meditation teaches awareness to what is going on in the present moment.

10 minutes a day of breathing and simple awareness will give you the capacity to let go of worry when it comes, and with continued practice you’ll notice that worry just stops taking root in your mind altogether.

I’ve been meditating daily for over 5 years and am convinced that it has re-wired my brain. I’m not worry-free but close to it.


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