Reducing overthinking and anxiety

Acharya Prashant
4 min readSep 26, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

Question: How should one reduce overthinking about situations or about the future? There is so much unnecessary anxiety in students.

Acharya Prashant:

Work! To be anxious, you need to be blessed with a lot of spare time.

How do you manage the time to indulge in anxiety?

I have chosen the word with care.

It’s an ‘indulgence’ to be anxious, to be worried,

there is a subtle enjoyment in all this.

“I’m worried! Something great is about to happen!” One is subtly sipping some juice, it’s a covert kind of fun - Anxiety, worry!” May I say, “It’s related to narcissism?”

When you say, “Something bad can happen to me either right now or in the future”, aren’t you saying, “You are very important!” At least to yourself? “Some really big misfortune is going to fall on me!”

Indirectly you are asserting that “You are so big that you can attract a big misfortune!” Are you that big? Has anything really big ever happened to you? Then how can even a big boulder fall on your head? But there is pleasure in worry! This will sound strange to many but stay with it.

There is a subtle pleasure in worrying.

The opposite of this self-centered worry is an immersion in the action.

Immerse yourself in the right action

and then where is the space and time to worry?

Surely you are stealing time away from work

so that you can indulge

in worries and anxieties and fancies of all kinds.

Young people fantasize, don’t they? Some fantasize about beautiful pretty exciting things, others fantasize about scary demons. But fundamentally it’s much the same thing.

You are using your faculty of imagination to gratify yourself in some way. You have rom-coms and then you have horror flicks. And one is being played on screen number three, the other one on the adjacent screen number four. The audience is much the same. In fact, some who could not manage a ticket for screen three…

Acharya Prashant