In this counseling answer:
• Lists can help us organize our thoughts and see which ones are rational and which ones are not. By making lists, we gain a visual perspective of how we are thinking.
• Look at your “worry” list and see which ones are left that are within your control and those that you are able to change, and write steps on how you are going to change them.
• In addition to examining your home and social life, perhaps make a list of the good deeds or acts of charity you can do in your community.
• Try increasing your prayers and du’aa’s.
As-Salamu ‘Alaikum sister,
Thank you for writing to us with your very important concern. It sounds as if you have a satisfying career and enjoy your job, but I am wondering about other aspects of your life. Do you have a happy home life? Do you have a close circle of sisters/friends whom you can talk to? Do you go out and spend time on enjoyable social activities or hobbies? These questions are important when examining why you worry excessively or feel unhappy.
I would kindly suggest, dear sister, that, in sha’ Allah, you make a list of all the things you worry about. Lists can help us organize our thoughts and see which ones are rational and which ones are not. By making lists, we gain a visual perspective of how we are thinking. This is oftentimes more powerful in terms of change as it is something we can begin to think about and link with events in our lives.
On the other hand, we may determine it is not important after all and dismiss as insignificant. Our thoughts and emotions are within our control. By “seeing” what it is you are worried about, you will begin to use the rational part of your thinking in terms of importance.
Look at your list closely. Are there things which you absolutely cannot change? If so, cross them out. Are there things you may be able to change later on in life when things are different? Find those and cross them off as well. Look at your “worry” list and see which ones are left that are within your control and those that you are able to change, and write steps on how you are going to change them. I bet your list is quite short now and more manageable, in sha’ Allah.
You see, sister, we often get caught up in excessive worry when we feel we must do or change everything at once, or when we feel that future events are out of our control. There are some things we can plan for such as an upcoming event: a family gathering, a meeting at work, even starting a family. However, everything ultimately is within Allah’s (swt) control.
Also, we have two types or two parts of the qadr. A fixed qadr (such as our time of birth, the place, natural disasters, illnesses, etc.) and a flexible qadr. The flexible qadr is that we can change which is in our free will, as mentioned above. It includes how we chose to live, if we do good or bad, if we isolate ourselves or step out to make changes. Additionally, Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an (13:11) that He (swt) will not change a condition of a people until they change themselves. This, sister, is what you can work on, in sha’ Allah, to cease your worrying and begin to find happiness-your choices.
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While you may keep your five mandatory prayers, sister, try increasing your prayers and du’aa’s. Reach out to Allah (swt) asking Him (swt) to relieve you of your worry and sadness and to fill your heart with the light and joy of Him (swt). Don’t stop asking and don’t stop praying. Read Qur’an for guidance and comfort, and do dzkhir for remembrance and calmness.
Remember also that,
„Allah does not charge a soul except [with that within] its capacity.” (2:286)
Your worries and sadness may just be a test to draw you closer to Allah (swt).
In life, we are to have a balance in all things in order to meet the various needs that we have as humans. We also should be aware of all the blessings that Allah (swt) has bestowed upon us such as a home, job, family, soundness of mind, and so forth. Oftentimes, when we are depressed, sad, or feel our lives lack something, it is because we have been through something, or we are going through something which has hurt us, or we are not utilizing our resources as much as we can. In the Qur’an, Allah (swt) states,
“But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and [yet], do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like corrupters.” (22:77)
From this, we can see sister that Allah (swt) wants us to have things in this world and to be happy. He (swt) also wants us to do good.
In addition to examining your home and social life, perhaps make a list of the good deeds or acts of charity you can do in your community. Not only are our sincere efforts pleasing to Allah (swt), but it makes us feel good to help others who are in need. Helping others often takes the focus off of ourselves and replaces it with a joy in seeing someone smile or relieved of a burden because of our concern and efforts.
In sha’ Allah, dear sister, I am confident in your resolve and that you will find relief in these suggestions. However, if your worries are of an obsessive nature wherein you cannot control your thoughts, or you are so depressed you have a difficult time functioning, please do see a therapist in your area. It may be that you are suffering from major depression, anxiety or OCD which will require treatment. If this is the case, please continue to draw closer to Allah (swt), for He (swt) is the ultimate healer, and
“For indeed, with hardship [will be] ease.” (94:5)
You are in our prayers. Please let us know how you are doing.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.