Let’s just cut to the chase on worrying.
While some of us might do it a little less than others, the point is WE ALL WORRY.
It’s not easy to raise kids. It’s hard to do long-term relationships really well. Finances can move from tight to a full-blown disaster with a single turn of events. And it’s a tough gig getting up every single day, going to work and dealing head-on with difficult bosses, hard-to-get-along-with co-workers and deadlines that never go way. Oh, and about self-care? What is that?
One study shows that the average adult spends 81 minutes a night submerged in the deep thought of worry. If you’re great at math, then you’ve already figured out the next statistic – the one that says if we really do spend that much time going over our deepest fears every single night, then we’re sacrificing an entire week of sleep every single year.
The problem with worry has nothing to do with the validity of your concerns. The truth is, you’ve got some real concerns worth giving some serious thought to, but here’s where it gets sticky:
Worrying isn’t really problem-solving.Worrying isn’t really problem-solving. Click To Tweet
When you spend all your time up in your head, worrying about what may or may not happen, you actually avoid finding a workable solution to your problem.
So, if your problems are real, how can you trade all your worrying for active problem-solving?
1. Give yourself permission to validate your worry.
Part of the reason you keep getting caught up in the cycle of worry is this. When scary thoughts come to the forefront of your mind, your brain starts demanding an immediate solution.
Don’t beat yourself up over this. Your brain was created for this because way back when humans still carried clubs and painted on cave walls, if you didn’t find an immediate solution, it could mean you’d face certain death. Problem is our world has changed. Few of us actually face certain death in our everyday lives, but because the human brain hasn’t caught up with our modern-day realities, it works really hard to keep fear over all of our problems front-and-center.
So what’s the solution? We’ve got to reprogram our brain.
In the 1Body Method, this reprogramming starts with learning how to slow down the “runaway train” of reactivity.
While there are lots of ways to do this, when you’re dealing with chronic situations (e.g., bad relationships, illness, financial struggles), a simple first step is to “schedule” your worry.
Sounds crazy, I know. But you schedule everything else in your life, and you know that it works. So, why not try it with worry?
Studies show that when we allow ourselves a set time to worry (like 30 minutes a day), we give ourselves a fighting chance to discover solutions that will help answer all of those questions racing through our heads. Sure, you’re not going to solve all your problems in that timeframe, but the key is to only let yourself “worry” about them during this set time. When you find yourself worrying outside of that time, kindly and firmly remind yourself to think about something else – anything else besides the problem racing through your brain.
2. Journal your thoughts.
When we’re faced with circumstances or decisions in our lives that leave us feeling overwhelmed, sometimes putting every crazy and frightening thought to words can bring incredible clarity. You don’t have to be a writer. You don’t even have to use complete sentences or spell words correctly. (No one is grading you here.) All you need to do is get the words down on paper, and with that single practice, you may start to see order come to the problems that have been churning in your mind.
Journaling works because it’s all about bringing awareness to what the mind is up to. The scientific hypothesis is that when we acknowledge our fears on paper, we actually “tame distracting emotions.”
Willing to try it? Download my free journal template here.
3. Show Compassion.
One of the linchpins of the 1Body Method is giving yourself the same lenience you show to others. If you truly understand that your brain has been hardwired to react to stress in a way that is no longer useful (or helpful) to your life, then you’ll also know that changing the way your brain and body respond to stress is going to be hard, hard work. A life’s work, really.
So what can you do when you’re faced with a situation that truly warrants worry? Start with these questions:
- What is really going on? (This is where you stop and give yourself time to look at the situation, before you allow yourself to react.)
- What is it costing me to stay on this runaway train of reactivity?
- How can I change my reaction of worry into a calm, considered response?
- Who would I be without this constant worry in my life?
The resounding message I want you to get is that you aren’t on this path alone. We are all working through our fears, our past hurts, and our real-world concerns. So if you’ve found yourself chained to a hamster wheel of worry and are ready to transform the way you deal with stress and fear, you’re in the right place.
Leave a comment, and let me know: what are you most worried about? And how are you currently dealing with those fears? Share your thoughts here. There’s a whole community of women willing to throw some encouragement and positive help your way.
Watch my Video Break the Worry Habit.
Take good care : )