29 Apr a close look at worry
LETS TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT WORRY
Worry is a feeling that lives inside your body. It also lives inside your mind. It tells you what you need to be afraid of, or it tells you that you can’t do something.
Lets try something, lets take your worry out of you. You are not your worry. You have a worry. Some people have nicknames for their worry. This helps dissociate.
Taking a close look at your worries also means being able to assess current standards. How are you coping at any moment?
Create a scale for yourself and determine how long you spend focusing on your worries. This is one step getting closer to knowing your worry and your relationship to it.
Then have a think about what you do to manage your worries. You will know now if you need to do something different. And thus this can then lead you into how confident you feel to handle your worries.
Usually we fear our worries, and so I encourage you to face your fear and see what your worry can teach you. Sounds weird, but have your ever tried to be creative and “talk” to your worry? Kids do this very well. Adults tend to feel weird. I guess that’s normal to feel this way. But try it. Have your curious self talk to your worry self, and let your worry self answer back. Be curious and let it happen.
Why might this strategy be good? Because later at a different stage, when your worry creeps up [especially when you are out in a public space and you begin to feel socially anxious] then you would have learned the skill of talking back to your worry, and continuing with your journey regardless of what happens. You can deal with it. Do this enough times and notice what happens.
Imagine when you are worried and you talk to a close /reliable friend, this is often reassuring and you may notice that you feel at ease after your friend rationalises things for you. Well you take that role of the rational and supportive friend, except its you talking to your worry. Now that’s resourceful.
So this is a great thing to get kids to do too. They have all sorts of creative worries which they can learn to back chat to. This becomes empowering for them. Adults can do it too. We just do it less creatively. Infact we can throw some humour into it.
Remember: that which you give attention to will GROW
So if you want to worry about something small, and you keep focusing on this, then its kind of predictable that this worry will GROW into a bigger worry.
Its not that easy, but how about you practice giving more attention to other things. It will be difficult at first, but you will practice and get better. Think of a few things that you can focus on instead and have them ready to focus on when your worry pops up.
Even visualising a peaceful place to mentally visit when you start feeling stressed. Oh this works wonders for kids especially. But my teachings have taught me its not just visual. If you really feel that its difficult to get to that nice visualisation, its probably because you are just trying to visualise it. Let me suggest you expand your experience to what you can hear in this place, or smell, what can you feel or touch in this place. What I’m suggesting is you utilise all your senses.
What else can you do to find your calm?
Create your own affirmations e.g. “eveything’s fine just as it is”
Turn to the artist in yourself: do a drawing, painting, colour in, sketch…
Not your thing? What about singing or dancing
Perhaps you have a hobby that helps? gardening, walking the dog, cleaning, tapestry, sewing, or whatever you desire
When your worry tries to sneak in, quickly notice this and do “something different”
Remember don’t shy away from your worries. Be aware of your strategies that you can use.
Now lets take a look at what your responsibilities truly are.
Like I say to my clients, we cannot be responsible for anyone else or anything else around us. But we can be responsible for what goes on inside us.
So please be clear about what you can control, and things I can’t control. Lets look at what we can control:
We can control the way we speak, where we put our attention to, our effort, our tone of voice, … and nothing that revolves on the outside of us.
So practice recognising your worry, and then determine what you can control.
“what if’s” lead to worry, usually unnecessary worry.
Infact use breathing to lead to calm, or whatever works for you.
How do you talk to yourself? Do you talk to yourself the way you would a good friend?
Be positive to yourself, and you can take the attention off your worry, and focus on what is real and true. Some examples, … I can be brave…. Its ok to make a mistake, mistakes are feedback…. I have worked hard on my tasks, I did the best I could…. I am not my worries…..I am brave… I embrace change…. I am excited doing something new….
Have your safe talk statements ready for when you feel worries coming along. Eg when I worry about…. I will say “…………….” To myself.
Don’t forget to check in with yourself after some time. Check how often you spend on your worries, check on your ability to handle your worries, and check on your strategies that you use to manage your worries. What else do you need to learn about your worries.
Please remember, worry is totally normal. We all feel worried sometimes.
What do you think you will do with your worries now? Do you have some reliable people in mind to share them with? Do just that.
There is an app I recently heard about and its called worry time. It is designed for people who spend lots of time worrying. But you don’t need an app to do this. Allocate your own worry time if you think this will help. You need to have a start and stop time. How’s 5 min? You have permission to say [when your worry creeps up] “its not worry time yet” and then carry on doing what you were doing. This helps compartmentalise your worry into a smaller time frame and not dominate a big chunk of your time.
Sounds strange about scheduling worry time? But does it work? Try it before you try answer this. And then see how easy or difficult it is to wait for worry time or to end worry time.
Lots of kids enjoy writing their worries on a piece of paper ripping the paper up. Would this work for you? What would work for you?
So remember you are stronger than your worries.
Add your strategies to the following list, or just use the list as a reminder.
Use worry time
Offload your worries
Visualise a happy place
Try stretching and yoga
Talk positively to yourself
Notice what you can control
Chat back to your worry
Use your creativity
Turn to those who you can trust
Repeat positive affirmations
Some people have said they find it hard to ground themselves:
Try this: hold something in your hand and feel it, look around and name 3 objects you can see, notice any sounds, and look for 5 colours that you can see.
Play detective. Are your worries true?
Don’t be fooled. Check to see what other facts and evidence are out there. What’s the worst thing that can happen. Has something like this happened before? What evidence can you use against your worry? Look for other reasons /explanations, or other meanings? Use perspective…is there anything good about the situation? Will it have the same meaning in an hour or tonight or tomorrow?
Well I hope this blog was friendly enough for all ages. I’ve tried to make it suitable for all readers.
Positive Thinking Clinic
1/7 Magdalene Terrace, Wolli Creek, 2205
MELTING WORRY AND RELAXATION
I find it extremely important to be able to relax and learn
the skills to get rid of constant worry.
What I do during these sessions are:
Encourage thinking by using cognitive therapy techniques. The aim here is to directly change your thoughts to worry less.
Have a tendency to think the worst?
Think of the best possible outcome, as well as the most likely outcomes.
Encourage relaxation by engaging in exercises to relax the body and the worried mind.
Anxious people tend to breath from their chests.
Belly breathing from your diaphragm allows a wonderful Oxygen…to Carbon Dioxide exchange, leading to relaxation.
Big breaths are not necessary: think deep into the bottom of your lungs.
Encourage movement /doing. This is done using behaviour therapy techniques. Useful for changing habits and behaviours to effectively manage worry.
Don’t Worry! Problem Solve
Worry actually interferes with problems solving, while ironically, it usually comes from a desire to make things turn out better. Skip the worry; go straight to problem solving.
Encourage mindfulness by increasing awareness and acceptance of the present moment.
Take a walk with the goal of focusing on your senses:
Mindfulness, exercise, and Vitamin D at the same time!
Try it on a run or bike ride too!
In summary, I use a bunch of cognitive behaviour therapy and mindfulness strategies to release anxiety.
These sessions are conducted for individuals, small groups, or during workshops. They are great skills for kids, teens, and adults.
When you think about it, all the activities are so simple.
Positive Thinking Clinic
1/7 Magdalene Terrace
Wolli Creek, 2205
0458 850 850