BOZTEPE: Worry needlessly inhibits our work

Tell me if this sounds familiar: Every day, whether you are being busy at work, working out, driving to see your friends or doing whatever daily task, you are constantly worrying. 

Worrying about what other people think about you, worrying about whether people like you, worrying whether your loved ones will notice that you combed your hair to the opposite side, constantly worrying. But what if you just stopped caring? One of the biggest reasons we feel discontent, even when things are going well, is our worrying. 

It is human nature to want to be loved and accepted by everyone. Human origin started in tribes where we stuck together because it was a scary world, if you chose to go alone into the wilderness trying to hunt by yourself and take care of yourself. 

We might not have that necessity anymore with modern technology, but we still have that human instinct to fit in. This is the same reason that common trends, such as the differentiation of the style of jeans in the early 2000s compared to now, are vastly different. Yet the companies move with the new trends, and consumers do the same in order to not look “out of season” or strange to others. 

Conformity is simple, yet the worrying that comes with it does not make it the most beneficial long-term choice. 

We are a long way from our tribal relatives of the past, yet we still seek the acceptance and praise from friends, family and strangers, whether it be in-person or online, because it makes us feel safe. But this limits our imagination since we are constantly worried about what other people think. 

Our goal should be to create and share our new ideas, no matter how abstract they seem because if we do not, we hurt our chances of acting. I strongly believe that there are loads of great ideas that were never created because someone was too busy being worried about what others would think of them and their ideas. 

Due to our herd mentality, if someone has an idea out of the ordinary, multiple people commonly judge, criticize or mock that person, since subconsciously, that person’s idea is out of those people’s comfort zones of what they define as normal.  

Well, I am writing today to tell you all that there is hope and there are ways to overcome and control the amount you worry and why. One step is setting aside time to worry and write. You could take 15 or 20 minutes to just sit down and write down every single thing that is worrying you or on your mind during that day. 

Accommodating that time can help you productively think of solutions to your worries and time to self-reflect on how you can fix them or deal with them. This will also help you throughout the day because you will remind yourself that you do not need to worry right now, you have a specific time to worry later.

But to be able to do this step one must also be mindful. Mindfulness comes in different forms, but in this sense, being mindful is being able to be nonjudgmental toward your thoughts and emotions, and just being aware of the thoughts you have without reacting to them. 

We must be able to accept the worry, to accept the intrusive thoughts and to control how much we obsess over them. We are prone to being reactionary due to our ability of having a consciousness, yet due to this, we forget to cut ourselves some slack. We must realize not everything can be 100% — we cannot do every task, and that we deserve breaks and cutting down on the workloads some days when your tensions are extremely high. 

We do not live forever, but rather than just living a long time in content, we should consider how one can have the best quality of life instead. Aside from these suggestions that can help you directly face worrying, you should also consider meditating and exercising. 

Meditating not only lowers your cortisol levels, but it also helps you practice your mindfulness, as you allow your emotions and thoughts to wander around your mind without reacting to them. As for exercise, you release endorphins and your serotonin levels rise, causing your stress levels to go down. It gives you a clearer mind when you want to go back and objectively look at the things that worry you most. 

The problem with worrying is that it is a constant cycle of negative thoughts that only you can break and rewire, so give these suggestions a proper chance and enjoy the changes you will see in your life from these methods.

Kaan Jon Boztepe is a School of Arts and Sciences senior double majoring in philosophy and history. His column, "Kaanotations," typically runs  on alternate Tuesdays.  


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