We can avoid that mental pain by not focusing our mind on the future. The future is the main source of most of our worries. If we can just constantly divert our mental attention to the present, we can prevent the mental distress of worrying from happening to us. It isn’t easy to do but we have got to learn to do it if we are to avoid the unhealthy practice of constant worrying.
The future is unknown. It has not arrived. As it is unknown, it is full of uncertainties. Uncertainties cause fear and arouse our anxiety. So we start worrying about what is going to happen one week hence, one month hence, or even one year hence. We feel powerless and immobilized as we much prefer certainty and dislike the unknown. We must realize the unknown is always there. This means our worry too will always be focused there unless we concentrate only on the present moment. If we have to think of the future, let us think positively instead of worrying about it.
If we can just discipline ourselves to thinking and feeling only in the present, we can devote all our precious time to the now. The present is all we have now. Focus exclusively on it and we leave ourselves no time to worry. If, on the other hand, we spend most of our time regretting about the past, we shift ourselves out of the present moment and live in the past. Either way – regretting the past or worrying about the future – cannot be of any real benefit to us. The present time is where we want our mind to be at all times. It is where we can be truly happy and creative and engage ourselves fully in productive activities.
Our conscious mind can accommodate only one thought at any one time. We can completely remove an unwelcome thought by replacing it with a positive thought. A better way is not to allow the input of any negative thought into our mind at any time. This is best done by changing our perceptions of what happens around us. Any perception that gives rise to a negative input should not be entertained. When our mind is free of negative thoughts, worry ceases to a problem to us.