AS FOR WORRY WORRYING US -
Whether we realize it or not, as soon as we worry, it worries us. Wikipedia says that ‘worry refers to the thoughts, images, emotions, actions of a negative nature in a repetitive, uncontrollable manner that results from a proactive cognitive risk analysis made to avoid or solve anticipated potential threats and their potential consequences. ’
With that repetition and feeling it is in control, worry affects us mentally, emotionally and physically. It can give you a headache – so you worry about that too. It makes you feel frustrated as you tread water, or make negative progress with whatever initiated this particular session of worry. It therefore uses up your energy and you worry about this. This further diverts your remaining energy from what you were attempting to resolve. But you probably blame the problem itself or ‘you’ for that lack of resolution. It makes you feel out of control as worry wraps you in an all embracing blanket. A blanket that is far from comforting, rather one that restricts you and saps your strength, preventing you from thinking clearly and rationally of possible resolutions. Worry becomes your constant companion from waking to sleeping – with it even trying hard to prevent you from putting in an escape bid into the arms of Morpheus.
As the Dalai Lama wisely suggested “If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it's not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.” It sounds so simple – so why do so many find that worry is their shadow, even if, or especially if, the sun isn’t actually or metaphorically shining? Why can’t we just tell worry to Foxtrot Oscar, leave us in peace and let us get on with getting on?
US AND OUR THOUGHTS
Don’t forget that our thoughts control how we feel – do check out last week’s piece on this. DO YOUR THOUGHTS LET YOU DOWN - AND MAKE YOU WORRY? | Dee Chadwick Our thoughts affect how we do things and what happens to us. If worrying is present with its mountain of negativity, then those thoughts probably bear little or no resemblance to the truth. Though, due to that cloud of worry, you see it as ‘your truth’? You have spun pieces of information along with a whole heap of negative fiction. The more you let it niggle away, the more real a possibility it becomes – if not a rock solid probability - that the worst case scenario is your reward at the end of your angst. Positive thoughts are kicked into touch along with the resulting positive outcomes. Says she who is using this and last week’s piece as a reminder to myself, as I am well aware that I am at present worrying rather than sticking with cold hard facts. Sadly, the facts are leaving too many doors to be opened and my worry readily pushes on these, flinging them wide open, allowing the non-facts to dominate. Why can I read a novel and not believe that it is fact yet I believe the fiction that my mind is currently coming up with? It’s good old worry that is allowing, or rather encouraging this to be my current default setting.
It’s a bit like Black Friday. This began as just a single day, morphed to Black Friday Week and now appears to have taken it upon itself to be Black Friday month! Worry may begin as a minor niggle, a passing concern, but then off it goes on its merry way as our seemingly constant companion.
It is one thing knowing how our thoughts, including worries, can affect our mood, and another doing something to overcome this. The following poem was written by Lois – and I have given the link to her Facebook poetry page. Do click through to check out her words – I am sure that they will resonate for many and help too. Lois also has a book just published entitled ‘Delightful Hush – poems to lift your spirits and sooth your mind’. She writes in support of others – and I have certainly found her words helpful as well as chuckling at some of her work.
I got myself a worry wart, it’s stuck on nice and tight!
Now I want to take it off it clings with all its might.
I expect its gotten cosy now and wants to stay for good,
It started off as soft as silk but now its hard as wood.
I offered it some cheese on toast and a mug of hot Ribena,
I knew when it was hungry that it got a whole lot meaner.
It crumpled up it's little face and crossed its stubborn arms,
"No thank you, I'm quite alright. I'm immune to all your charms.”
I couldn’t shift that worry wart no matter how I tried,
I got so darn frustrated that I just sat down and cried.
"What’s the matter?" Warty asked. "I thought you liked me here,
If you really want me gone why don’t you make it clear?"
"Really? It's that simple?" I asked the little wart.
"Of course it is my dear girl, I’m not a nasty sort.”
“You're the one who summoned me all those years ago,
I thought you liked my company, just me and my friend Lo."
"I'm sorry wart but things have changed, I'd like to have some peace, Worrying the whole day long has really got to cease.
Being calm and restful is much the better plan.
I reckon too much worrying should have a worldwide ban."
The following day the wart was gone, I wasn't sure quite where,
As long as Warty stayed away I didn't really care!
I know that if I try to force myself to stop worrying, it lurks. A better way I have found is, basically using a Mindful approach, acknowledging that I am worrying and naming the reason for this rather than endeavouring to stop it. It is then allowed a short space of time for me to acknowledge my worry, then I set it aside. I remind myself that I only know what has come to pass so just don’t go down that road of what hasn’t ( and may never happen) road.
It can be rather like a little puppy that you are training to stay in its basket. If, when it inevitably hops out, you berate it, you are heaping on negativity especially if you also berate yourself. You know ‘You stupid thing’, ‘People have told you how there is absolutely no need to worry but of course you do because you are barmy’ and on and on. Switch off that inner critic and that tendency to overthink things. Instead, with kindness (and how many times have I encouraged people to be kind to themselves?) gently place the puppy back in the basket with a stroke and a reassuring smile. However, puppies need some freedom. If you give your worry a time (and often a place) to come back into your mind. You can then return it to the proverbial basket. OK, at first, there will be trigger moments when out it pops, but with loving kindness to yourself, simply remind it that you will allow it out at its allotted time. Then on with what you have to do. If you have no specific tasks, then set up things that can readily be picked up and put down again. Get out into nature; have a long soak in the bath with sing along music, a magazine; put on some music and dance – fling yourself around; use some guided relaxation as you will be following a path rather than simply allowing your mind to take you where it will. Why not try out one of my guided relaxations using hypnosis.
The theory is that worry is simply a learned behaviour and those learned thoughts can be unlearned by accentuating the positive, thereby reducing the worry and the associated anxiety and stress. Don’t beat yourself up for having had worries – most of us do at times in our lives, though not everyone admits this or takes steps to change those thought patterns.
I have talked of goal setting and the importance of having SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic,Timed). Sometimes, we have to accept responsibility for triggering our worry. We do this by setting un-SMART targets so we worry if we will achieve in time, will achieve what we set out to, or just, unspecifically actually achieve at all. Time to revisit and tighten up those targets and ensure that we are being realistic considering current finances, circumstances and abilities. It’s also important, though not necessarily easy, to accept what is beyond our control, as I guess many business owners have had to do since COVID came on the scene. By taking the artificially self-set pressures off, that achievement can become far more realistic and attainable; and the worry leaves you in peace.
Don’t lose sight of the positive, often small things around in your life.
Don’t forget to smell the roses AND the coffee and be grateful for those important little things. For me, it’s the pleasure of watching the birds gathering around the feeders, even though these, at present, need topping up on a daily basis! I simply count my blessing that I am able to do this as I go to buy another sack of peanuts and wild bird food and return to a comfortable home with warmth and food. It is so important not to lose sight of the things that we can so often take very much for granted.
Worry is just thoughts – unwanted ones at that. But, you CAN change the way that you think. So don’t let those negative thoughts spoil your day today and cloud your tomorrow. They are not your truth, they are not the truth so don’t let them fool you into thinking that they are. You CAN kick them into touch and replace them with thoughts that don’t put you into a downward spiral of angst.
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