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To not worry, try living in the past. This might sound strange, but Oliver Burkeman, in a fascinating article on how to cope with anxiety, writes:

We tend to live, it has often been observed, in a constant state of anxious anticipation of the next potentially stressful event. But the usual Buddhism-tinged solution – to be “present in the moment” instead – is notoriously hard to put into practice. It’s easier to look back at previous forthcoming events, and ask if your anxiety proved justified. You could try the exercise I recently undertook, following Cain’s line of thinking, which I trust the Stoics would have endorsed: every morning, make a brief note of what feels like your biggest problem. As the list accumulates, you can start looking back at earlier entries. Guess how many months it took for my former worries to seem laughably overblown? Five days: that’s how many months. Most of what troubles us turns out to be tolerable, or even wonderful, or just never happens at all.

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Worrying is easy. We worry about work, money, health, family, what’s going on in the world…. One of the main reasons a lot of people do yoga is to get away from the daily grind of fretting about this and that.

Yoga trains us to tackle worry, to be with our bodies, to stay in the moment. The problem is, we step out of the studio and it all comes rushing back. So much to do, so much to, well, worry about. Instead of getting overwhelmed, why not give Burkeman’s advice a spin and think about all the bad things that didn’t happen in the past. I’m willing to bet it will help put things in perspective and ease the stress!

As he writes:

Next time you worry that something’s going to ruin your life, it’s worth remembering that if you’d ever been right about that before, even once, your life would presently be ruined.

Can looking back can keep you in the present? Share your views in the comments!

photo credit: LauraGilchrist4 Worry is a misuse of the imagination via photopin (license)