You Can Stop Worrying: Want to Learn How?
I was born a worrier. In fact, I come from a long line of worriers. To create a life of freedom I knew that I was going to have to face then transform the worry. And that realization came to me before I had even considered the physical impact of worry on the body.
When we worry, we experience the fear and flight response. So constant worry means that our bodies are being jam-packed with hormones. I won’t detail all the “bad” things that anxiety and worry can do to our bodies mostly because I don’t want to worry you.
In continuing my research on the topic of worry, I came across an article citing the book, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers. Animals, including Zebras, of course, don’t worry. “Zebras don’t get ulcers because when they are under attack, they either run away or get eaten. They don’t stay stressed. We get ulcers and suffer a lot of other serious damage because we do.” (1)
Moving from Worry to Concern:
You might be asking yourself what’s the difference between worry and concern? Concern indicates that there is an action you can take. There’s a strange sound in my car so I’ll take it in for a check-up.
Worry is about lack. It’s about focusing on things you can change, things that may have occurred in the past, or potential situations which might happen in the future.
The first step to breaking down the worry monster is to determine “is this a worry or a concern?” Can you truly do something about this situation? Is there an action step to take? Do you need more information before you take action?
If you have deemed it a concern, then take the action needed and move on to the next step. If you have put it in the worry category, it’s time to be like a Zebra.
Being Like A Zebra:
Yay, you haven’t gotten eaten! If you could do something about the situation, you did that and now it’s time to release the worry which is causing your stress.
Over and over again I hear clients say, I don’t know how to let go. And, of course, I nod my head in agreement. Letting go is a process. It takes practice. The first step is to say: “right here, right now all is well.” The key to releasing the worry is to keep bringing yourself back to the now, and don’t let your mind go wandering down that dark tunnel of “what ifs,” “shoulds,” and “could haves”.
Again, right here, right now, all is well. Be present in your surroundings, notice your breath, and wiggle your toes to ground yourself in this moment.
Worry’s Biggest Fear:
Next, and you might resist this one, you need to laugh. Worry despises laughter. You probably won’t feel like laughing. There’s a part of you that believes if you stay in the worry then you are “doing” something to solve the situation but you’re not. So gear yourself up for a big belly laugh. If you can’t find anything funny, check out cute kitten videos on YouTube, or just start to giggle and before you know it you will be rolling on the floor.
Tricking the Worry:
You know who never worries? The Universe. The Universe doesn’t spend time worrying about each blade of grass, instead, it invests time encouraging their growth. You can begin to turn your worry into encouragement by following a few simple tips.
Here are 3 Ways to Create A New Relationship with Worry:
Stop with the Lists –
Are you consumed by list-making? Why? The practice of list-making has moved beyond supportive and become another thing to worry about. The purpose of a list is to get it all out of your head, so you can focus on the tasks of creating what you desire. I suggest a new way of creating a list: one task at a time. This way you can focus on being present.
Instead of writing down all those things you have to accomplish today, pause and allow yourself to be supported by the Universe. When the worry comes up, pause again and declare “the Universe is taking care of that for me”.
Tackle the Fear –
All this worry is the result of trying to keep yourself safe. We have designed lives that are conditional, and we believe that those conditions are our safety. When you notice the worry, that is a sign to acknowledge the fear. I know that I’m afraid AND I am willing and able to access that part of me that knows no fear.
Stop with the Multi-Tasking –
I know we are very strong individuals. We are superhuman and can-do multiple tasks all at the same time. If you are like me, you get more done in 15 minutes than most people do in their entire day. However, all this multi-tasking is creating exhaustion. When we multi-task we are splitting and diminishing our energy, and because we are not present our mind kicks in and creates a structure, so we won’t forget all those tasks we have to do, worry.
If you truly want to enjoy a life of freedom and peace, then creating a new relationship with worry is your best course of action.
Source: (1) David Ropeik, Time to Worry About Worrying Too Much, Dec. 2011, psychologytoday.com