How many times have you heard the words ‘stop worrying’ by those well intentioned loved ones? And how many times have you wanted to answer, “tell me how, and I will.”?
It’s a frustrating experience to be repetitively told that all you need to do to ease your anxiety is to stop this seemingly incessant process of worry — as if it’s easy and immediately achievable.
The fact is, we actually have no control over our mind and its ever-productive worry machine. Our minds were literally made to worry! If we didn’t worry, we couldn’t anticipate future threats or plan for possible dangers that may have popped up as we travelled the rugged landscapes in our scantily clad, cave man attire.
So next time you get mad with yourself for failing to control those worries, breathe in a breath of compassion and acknowledge that your failure isn’t failure at all, but your pure humanness.
However, the worry could still make you stressed and anxious most especially in this current climate of uncertainty, change, and the unknown. You might have thought that you needed to know how to manage that overwhelming emotions…
Here are the steps to manage a mind that is inherently uncontrollable:
- Notice that you’re worrying and name it as such
- Write your worries down or name some of your worries out loud (whatever works for you)
- Pick the one’s that you can solve right now and take action
- For the one’s that can’t be solved in this moment (let’s be honest, most of them) see if you can allow yourself to sit with them
- Get creative. Sitting with them doesn’t have to mean ‘just sitting’. See if you can play with them, turn them around in your mind, see them as colours, sing them aloud, place them into different sized jars depending on their weight, or imagine they are cars on a freeway
This process may sound ridiculously odd.
You may be thinking.. “But what about my concerns? How do I solve them?” This process will allow you to solve what you can and give you a skill to manage the ones that you can’t. This process is about allowing your worries to come and go without fighting with them. When you do this, they tend to lose their impact that will make you feel a little better.
If you want to know more about this process and how it can work for you in helping to manage anxiety, call or email us to book an appointment.
By Katy Brown, Registered Psychologist