Relax , Chapter 3
Written by Leonard M. Leonard
Designed + Illustrated by Will Dinski
Original Copyright 1952
What do do about worry? Volumes have been written on the subject. But as Sherlock Holmes would say, the answer is elementary – very, very elementary: You can do something or nothing.
Are you worried because you’ve been careless with your work? Start being careful with it. Are you worried about a pain in the chest. Have it diagnosed and treated. Here are two kinds of worry that you can do something about. Action can get rid of them by the roots.
But most of our worries probably aren’t that kind. We worry about things which may happen in spite of us, or which already have happened in spite of us. Our worries are “untouchables” flying into the unborn future, or falling into the long-dead past.
The thing to do about such worries is the very most – and also very least – that can be done about them. Nothing. Nothing at all.
And that means not worrying, either. For worry is anything but passive. It is a strenuous effort.
Every play tug of war? You remember how you braced and stiffened your body to resist the pull of your opponents. That’s the kind of work you do when you worry. You tense up to resist something you don’t want to happen. It follows that if you just didn’t resist, you just wouldn’t worry. And from this comes a top-flight technique for peace of mind and body.
Stop resisting. Be willing to let things happen. This was the keynote of Annie Payson Call’s method of relaxation. She was among the greatest teachers of relaxation, and among her pupils was George Bernard Shaw.
When you resist the possibility of something happening, she taught, you tense up, function less efficiently and thereby invite the catastrophe you fear.
Take the matter of catching a train, for example. On the one hand, you want to catch it. But if on the other hand you’re afraid you’ll miss it, you set up a force of resistance. You are so busy resisting the idea of being late that you become panicky and clumsy. Everything seems to go wrong. And so you are late, after all.
Probably you have had this experience. You are in such a fearful rush that you fumble around buttoning your shirt. You put your socks on the inside out. you nearly fall down the stairs in your haste. Then you find that you forgot something and have to rush back. The cause of your inefficiency is not your eagerness to be prompt, but your resistance to the idea of bing late.
It is quite the same with other things. When we are fearful of any consequence, we dilute our power to avert it. But when we are quietly willing that it occur, we instantly lose the tensions of fear which direct us toward it. Relaxing, our minds and bodies function freely and effectively.
What is resistance? In physics it is defined as a force tending to prevent motion. It may very well be the force with is holding you back right now.
Are you worried that you’ll fail – on the job, at the social function, in a game or sport? Are you haunted by worries of sickness, accident, catastrophe? Unlock your tensions with an easy willingness for anything that may come. You will be better prepared to cope with any emergency – and meanwhile, you’ll feel better!
This is a prescription for relaxing and a philosophy for living. Calm thoughts, quiet confidence, steadier nerves and better achievement are the seeds which you can sow with less resistance.
What should you do about worry? Nothing. Nothing, that is, but to stop doing. Stop resisting so much, and be willing to let things happen.