Do you find it hard not to worry? Would you like to stop worrying and live more in the here and now? Psychological well-being practitioner, Laura Driesen shares follow our five simple steps to relieve your anxieties!
We often struggle to manage life’s uncertainty, and however strong our belief in fate and that we are being guided on our journey, it can still be hard to let go of our concerns and trust that what will be will be. While some people only tend to worry about specific areas of their life (such as work or home) others can’t stop worrying about everything and anything.
Not all worry’s bad!
This is not always a problem. Worrying is a normal part of life and we will never stop worrying completely – nor would we want to! That’s because worrying is useful. Worrying motivates us to take action and it can help us to achieve our goals. Can you imagine how we would treat each other if we were not the slightest bit concerned what other people think of us or how many of us would get up for work if we weren’t worried about paying the bills or what our boss would say?
But when we find ourselves worrying excessively it can be a problem. Worrying depletes us of energy and stops us from enjoying the present. It’s not uncommon for worriers to feel like worrying is something they were born with and they will never be able to change. Much of our ability to change comes down to what we tell ourselves we are, and are not capable of. Words like’ never’ and ‘can’’ are restricting, and limit our potential for change. Would you tell someone that you are close to that they cannot change or what they will never be able to do? Why not? So give yourself a break and rather than telling yourself you can’t stop worrying and it’s just the way you are, try saying that you might be able to.
Stop worrying in its tracks using the following simple techniques:
- When you find yourself worrying ask yourself if it is a worry that you can actually do something about. If it is then get on and do it or plan when, where and how you will do it and then let the worry go.
- To let go of worrying imagine your worry floating away in a bubble or being dumped in the trash and being driven away in the dustcart
- Limit your worrying to ‘worry time’. Treat yourself to a little notebook you like the colour and feel of and agree with yourself a time, place, duration and location where you will allow yourself to worry each day or every other day e.g. 4pm, in the bathroom, for 30 minutes. Don’t choose somewhere that you eat or relax such as the bedroom. Now every time you notice yourself worrying make a note of what you were worrying about in your notebook and then let it go. When it gets to ‘worry time’, go through the worries that you have noted down. Do not allow yourself to do this for any longer than you agreed with yourself that you would.
- Challenge your worries. When you find yourself worrying ask yourself the following questions. How important will this worry be in one year’s time? What is the best thing that can happen? What is the worst thing that can happen? If the worst happens how will I cope? Am I predicting that it will be worse than it is likely to be? Am I underestimating my ability to cope?
- Stop searching for the perfect solution. Accept that there is often no perfect solution – just alternative options with different advantages and disadvantages.