What has you up at night?
We all experience worry, and we know all too well that nagging feeling about something that is wrong. Why do we worry? Let’s face it, worrying is not a pleasant emotion and mainly involves negative obsessive thinking filled with fear and doubt.
Recently, my client told me that she was done with worry! No more restless, sleepless nights. She told me how just the other night, when she needed a good night’s uninterrupted sleep, it happened again. Suddenly in the darkness she found herself wide awake. Those bothersome thoughts began racing through her mind and worry set in. This time she allowed her thoughts to ‘come in and go out’ and noticed that all of her thoughts were stories that she was telling herself, and she realized that none of them were true. She was aware of her thoughts swirling around her mind and noticed that she was worrying about the future, about something that had not happened and might not happen. In the morning when she woke feeling somewhat tired and a little stressed, she made up her mind that she was ready to ‘unpack’ her childhood baggage and let go of worry. She was ready for a peaceful mind.
On a personal note, I admit I still have worries creep up on me from time to time. But, I have learned how to silence them. I no longer give them power over my life. If there is a solution I will find it and work through the problem, and then let it go.
That’s just what my client and I started to work on.
Worry can be a huge struggle for many women and I assured my client that she was not alone. Worry is a common theme in so many people’s lives. We are filled with fear and it shapes our thoughts and actions in so many destructive ways. I let her know that worry is just an emotion caused by a thought, and how our minds are wired for negativity, an evolutionary tool to keep us safe. However, in today’s world this process does not serve us, as we most likely are not meeting Sabor Tooth Tigers that might kill us.
I explained that any time you find yourself with a worry, tell yourself:
- Spending time worrying is wasting time not living.
- Being stuck in worry is not being in the present moment, not enjoying what you have right now, right in front of you.
- Worrying is the most impractical way to use energy.
- Worrying does not prepare you for the future.
- You may feel like you are creating solutions or protecting yourself from pain when really you are causing more of it.
- Worrying does not mean you love someone.
- Worrying is different than concern.
Also, worrying can have several psychological effects:
- Worry keeps you stuck in your head with useless thoughts.
- Constant worrying can create physical and mental problems without providing any benefits.
- Your natural self-repair mechanisms stop working when you worry.
- Worry is a learned habit and a behavior that steals your joy.
- Worrying hijacks your brain and impacts your focus.
- It decreases your creativity.
A few things people do to avoid worrying:
- Drink alcohol, take drugs, or both.
- Party all night.
- Excessive shopping.
- Binge watching T.V./Netflix
- Play video games
- Over eat
- Over exercise.
- Spend endless hours on social media.
Next, we went over strategy to shift from worry.
Begin by asking yourself these questions:
- Where is my worry coming from?
- Am I digging up the past or worrying about what hasn’t happened in the future?
- Are these thoughts I’m having true?
- Are these thoughts facts? We ask this because, often, our thoughts are our fears of the unknown, which we magnify and look at the worst possible outcome.
- Is this worry helping me or anyone else?
- Is there any action I can take to help prepare?
- What is the worst-case scenario?
- How much time am I spending worrying?
- What encouraging words would I say to a friend who had this worry?
It is not always easy to let go of worrisome thoughts (remember that worry is not a true thought.) Thoughts can only bother you when you add weight to them and pay attention to them; when you believe them. So, next time you find yourself worrying, why not use it as a reminder to stay more present. Deciding not to worry is a practice and discipline, and once you master it, can lead you to a much greater peace of mind. Even though worrying feels serious, a sense of humor can help too.
A few tips to help:
- Do some deep breathing to help lower any stress or anxiety.
- Burn essential oils to help calm a racing mind or if you feel fatigued.
- Journal and write down your worries and fears, get it all out of your head and onto paper, look at the facts and make peace with them. Sit down for 15 minutes and address each worry. Decipher whether or not it is an actual concern.
- Practice mindfulness, because worrying is mainly focused on what might happen in the future, and mindfulness keeps you in the present.
- Exercise, it is one of the best ways to get rid of any anxious feelings.
- Go out into nature, listen to the sounds, smell the air, and release any negative feelings to the universe.
- Keep your hands busy. Sew, draw, paint, do jigsaw puzzles, or knit. Doing something with your hands helps to keep your mind off of your worries.
- Make peace with the worst that could happen.
- Take action on what you want to do. A solvable concern is one that you can take action on right away. An unsolvable worry is one that you have no control over. However, you can begin to change your thoughts about it, and start to make peace.
I offered that when worry shows up, learn to become the observer of yourself. Step aside in your mind, start to watch those thoughts and states of mind ‘come in and go out.’ Be a witness to your own mind. By becoming an observer, you are allowing your thoughts to just be. You’ll notice that with practice they will eventually stop bothering you and you’ll begin to see that they truly are just thoughts and feelings that can do you no harm, and they certainly are not necessary.
You cannot avoid your worry or push it away. So, bring it into the light and question your thoughts. Remember that worry is just a thought creating an emotion and an action that you can change. YOU have the power to not let worry win!
“The word worry comes from the Old High German word wurgen which means to strangle. Worrisome thoughts and their resulting feelings are a form of self-strangulation.”
Do you worry too much? Do you find yourself worrying excessively about your health, kids, parents, finances, or the future? Are you ready to let go of your worries? Make a commitment to reducing your worry levels today. It all starts with choice, if you need help, reach out and contact me. Much love
“Worry is like a rocking chair: it gives you something to do but never gets you anywhere.” ~Emma Bombeck
Diane Morgan works with women who are overwhelmed and torn by the aging process and have a hard time finding themselves and their place in life during and beyond midlife. She is the creator of a powerful transformational program Awaken Your Beauty Inside Out: Fall In Love With The Skin You’re In. This phenomenal program capitalizes on her 20 plus years of experience in the beauty industry and her expertise as a certified Master Empowerment Coach for women.