By Jessica Gray
Worry has no value.
But, you think that it does and that I don’t get it (I do, by the way — I really do) because worry makes you feel safe and like you have everything under control. You see, the problem is that things are always going to go wrong. There is no way to eliminate from our lives everything that could trigger us. To you, the worry may feel useful. You may feel like you are planning ahead or on top of things.
But, you aren’t ever going to be able to control everything and things are always going to go wrong. ALWAYS. In order to get anxiety truly under control, this is the thing that you have got to accept.
So, when you finally come to truly see the irrationality of that type of thinking, you are not able to just turn it off. I get that. But, nonetheless, if it does not serve you (as one of my therapists always said), just dismiss it.
Just dismiss every irrational fear that you have!??
Not easy. I know, but it’s of value to you. It will serve you to live free of anxiety. It will serve your family as well. My Christian friends call this type of thing “giving it to God.”
Believing you have mind control is magical thinking.
Your commitment to lying awake at night to exercise those mind control muscles is pretty nutty when you think about it.
Yes. I know. Sometimes thoughts have power, and positive thoughts can be super helpful when attempting to achieve goals. But they are not magical. You are creating those thoughts. You are that positive energy.
You are also calmer and happier and less likely to become defensive, hurt or angry.
Some people get the calming effects described above from God or church or a spiritual belief system. If those institutions create a happy and healthy life for people (who are willing to stand against any wrongdoers within your religion), then good for them. I couldn’t care less what they do in their daily lives or in regard to their religion. We each get one life and we should live it whatever way feels right to us.
However, atheists get that peace from within.
So, when you feel that fear setting in, know that your thoughts are controlled by you. Your life is controlled by you. You are steering. This requires personal accountability. It also requires rational thinking. These are two things that most atheists and secularists are proud to embrace.
So, I guess, my fellow worriers, this is just a reminder that today is a good day to practice controlling your own thoughts completely, even for just an hour or so. Today is another day of crap happening and tomorrow and the next day will be too. If you’re overwhelmed, take a breather from the hamster wheel that is your mind and take care of yourself.
With all of that said…
This is not an article suggesting that people in need of psychiatric care, or who take prescription medications for their mental health issues (like me) should go off of their meds. I believe strongly that medications can improve a person’s quality of life tenfold. And, I do not think that many people who suffer from true anxiety persistently and chronically are going to benefit just from positive thinking. At the very least, anyone who is dealing with anxiety should see a therapist. If you need help finding a secular therapist, click HERE.
JESSICA GRAY is a secular humanist blogger living in the Bible Belt with her two kids and husband. She runs heathenhippie.com where she rambles about atheism, parenting, education, human rights, creativity and more. She loves: buying and selling vintage, her family, and her work as a freelance editor and writer. She hates: waking up early, getting put on hold on the phone, and doing laundry. You can follow her on Twitter @quiltlearning.