Are you a bit of a worrier? … I’ll admit I can be!
I have got a lot better over the years though … I mean I can’t really coach my clients around mindset, fear, anxiety etc. and not use those tools and techniques myself!!
… But sometimes, I do find myself caught up in a cycle of worry.
And I know, due to all of the science-based research I’ve done on stress, that once your body is swimming in stress hormones you will naturally be prone to more worry because the stress hormones make you look for perceived threats – i.e. the worst-case scenario.
This is essentially why I am prone to worry … because from a young age my nervous system was primed for fight or flight having grown up in an often-unsettling environment.
So, when I think of something that’s potentially risky in any way, my brain automatically goes to the worst-case scenario(s).
This can actually be very helpful, because it means I’m very strategic in my thinking and I can quickly analyse the best way to do something – It’s like I have an inbuilt, automatic risk assessment!
However, when the risk is somewhat high, and the worst-case scenario is pretty scary … I can then start going into worry mode.
…This is because, as I’ve shared before:
“Your mind doesn’t know the difference between reality and fantasy.
Your mind acts on what you feed it. Feed it good thoughts.”
So what this means is that, my body responds to what I’m imagining … hence why worrisome, negative thoughts cause stress in your body and then you’re in a viscious cycle where the stress hormones get you looking for threats and vice versa.
(As a side not here, you can of course use this trait of the brain to your benefit, something I will delve into on another blog.)
I’m a huge fan of what I call ‘mind management’ and so when this happens to me I do practice what I preach;
For example, I make myself imagine the best-case scenario for contrast … I also consider what I would do if the worst case actually happened, is it really that bad? Often when we plan out what we’d actually do in the worst case, it kind of lessens its fear-inducing power over us.
But sometimes I still find myself worrying, especially if it’s something that is yet to pan out and so only time will tell…
And it’s in these instances that I have started using a relatively new ‘tool’ that I want to share with you today because it’s really been a game-changer for me…
A little while ago I was feeling quite stressed about something pretty major in my life …
As I share above, having done a lot of work on mindset, stress and limiting beliefs etc, I knew so many ways in which I could alleviate the stress, but when it’s something that taps into a core fear, you can find yourself worrying on and off throughout the day … You’re in the middle of something and then the worrisome thought pops up out of nowhere and all of a sudden, you’re feeling unsettled and stressed again!
In my case, the thing I was worried about wasn’t anything I could change as I was thinking about something that may or may not happen in the future … Yet the worrying was holding me back in a number of ways and also just generally somewhat spoiling my every-day life experience … Whenever the worries were in my mind, I felt quite tense and not able to fully enjoy the present moment.
It was actually my business coach who taught me this tool – She could tell that my worries and fears were stalling my progress, so she suggested I set aside a specific time every day to officially worry!
At first, I thought I’d give it a go but in all honestly, I wasn’t really convinced that it would actually work.
However, I’ve got to tell you it really did stop the worrying and it was also much easier than I thought to put into practice!!
I’ve also shared this technique with a close friend who is very worried about work and finances right now and she also said it’s worked wonders for her, so I knew I wanted to share it here in the hope it might help you too.
It’s really so simple, here’s what I did:
Every time the worry came up, I just said to myself I was dropping it and worrying about it at 5pm (my designated worry time!) and I was actually able to drop it! There was something quite empowering about being disciplined with my worrying!
… And then very quickly I realised that by the time 5pm came around, I usually always forgot to do the worrying, or I didn’t feel the need to!
There was the odd occasion where I did purposely focus on those worrisome thoughts and fears, but after about 5minutes it all felt a bit silly, so I got on with something else!
I’m still kind of surprised how well this actually worked!
So, if you find yourself with a worry you can’t shake, I highly recommend you give this a go:
Put a set time in your schedule for ‘worry time’ and give yourself 15-30mins of proper ‘worrying’ every day. Then otherwise, outside of that time, absolutely no worrying allowed, every time the worry pops up in mind, you say to yourself “No it’s not time now, I will worry about this properly at 5pm” – or whatever your designated worry time is … And I do recommend it’s later in the day but not right before bed.
… This may sound all sound a little to easy, but if it worked for me and my friend, I know it’s worth sharing with you.
Here’s to your peace of mind.