Unfortunately there are plenty of things for us to worry about these days. Covid-19, global warming, uncertain financial markets and all the little everyday things that we face (the ones that are too numerous to mention.
Worry can wreak havoc in our lives. It can disturb our sleep, occupy our mind, impair our memory and focus, and just generally leave us feeling unsettled and unstable.
Worry can also serve a purpose. Let’s just ignore that worry is often unnecessary. More often than not what we’re trying to do when we worry is solve a problem.
Whatever it is goes round and round in our head, trying to find a way out of it, or a way through it, or a way around it.
Quite often these things we worry over won’t have an easy solution, so we keep trying from every angle, going over and over the same old ground.
Unfortunately this going over and over and not finding a solution is what makes us feel stressed.
So how do we stop it?
Time Limit it. Give yourself 15 minutes to worry as hard as you can and then put it away. You can schedule a few 15 minute sessions a day.
Put it in it’s box. I’ve been using this with my clients and tried it on myself the other day (quite effectively). Visualise putting all your worries in a box, say for the weekend. You can open the box again Monday. Or they can go in the box overnight so you can have a good night’s sleep. Amazingly this actually works.
Brainstorm. If worrying is about finding a solution then focus on finding a solution. Brainstorm as many ideas as you possibly can. Then don’t have to make sense, they just have to be ideas. That way you won’t get stuck in the worry loop – going over the same solutions.
Ask a different question. If there doesn’t seem to be a solution to the problem you’re worrying over, ask yourself a question that you can solve. If you can’t change the problem itself, you could change your question to “what could I do to cope with this better?” or similar. It can even be a more healthy occupation for your brain to be thinking about what different question you can ask.
If you have any other helpful worry-beating strategies let me know.