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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Your Worry or Your Life?

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Dec 22nd 2009

worryThis is one of the preeminent issues in our culture today...worrying. We worry about the holidays, our jobs, partners, kids, money, global issues, when it comes down to it, for many of us; we even worry about our worrying. It's almost as if we can't get away from it. The 15th century mystic poet Kabir wrote a poem that was translated by Robert Bly that really hits the nail on the head.

He says:

Oh mind you carry on your back

Your actions like a heavy sack.

No wonder that your shoulders ache

Another strain's enough to break

Your neck

So drop this stupid load.

This is the last stop on the road where you can find rest

Stay, be Love's guest.

What would it be like if from time to time we could "drop this stupid load?"

What seems to be a recurring message from people on their deathbeds who reflect back on their lives is the quote from Mark Twain:

"I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened." 

Basically, worrying in itself is not bad. It's healthy to worry a bit so we're prepared and motivated. However, for the most part, it's out of control and goes too far, causing high enough distress that it negatively impacts people's lives.

So, to practice coming down from the busy mind, I practice mindfulness, the art of paying attention, on purpose and without judgment. This is very practical in training the mind to be more aware of the present moment, connected to what is actually happening right now, and inevitably more balanced so we can move through life more effectively and with greater calm and ease.

As long as you're not driving or operating heavy machinery, you are welcome to try out a 5-minute practice right here that you can use at any time to begin your mindfulness practice and start to get your life back.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction here provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

Rachel... - Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. - Dec 23rd 2009

Hi Rachel, it's difficult to give advice without knowing some more background, but I would say that you may  not be able to control your children, so as best you can, acknowledge your disappointment and it's ok to feel sad about this. Your kids are growing up and there may be some grieving involved in that which would be completely natural.

And it's also good to work with your worrying mind so you can become more present with the meaning of the holiday for you. 

As much as possible, practice being gentle and kind to yourself during this holiday season. 


Worry - Rachel - Dec 23rd 2009

The stress from worrying about my teenagers as they come home from college for the holidays.  

After setting expectations, that they sometimes follow and sometimes do not, I constantly worry (and do not sleep well) because they are out late, sleeping late (drinking?), and lazy lazy lazy.  

I, on the other hand, am working full time, and running around like a crazy woman preparing for Christmas.   Although they say they appreciate things..... their actions say otherwise.  I am perpetually stressed and worried.

Any suggestions?

A Suggestion - Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. - Dec 23rd 2009

Hi there,

I wrote a blog post a while back called "7 Steps to Forgiving Your Partner". I would suggest reading it, but pretend your partner is you. In other words, there is a part of you that you are at odds with and I believe there is a need to forgive yourself, because carrying it around and ruminating about it is causing you high distress and not helpful. 

May you be free from the grip of this rumination,

Elisha Goldstein Ph.D.

Worry about the past - Worried - Dec 22nd 2009

I wonder if anyone else worries about the past, what I mean is I did some cheating in college, and it about kills me worrying about it.  I have even went back and retaken most of those classes, hoping it would help me, but I still feel terrible about it.

Any suggestions?


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