Worries... we all have them.
Sometimes, worries are about real problems; sometimes, they are just thoughts about what might happen. We feel that it's impossible to control or stop our worrying thoughts and it becomes impossible to be able to concentrate on our day. They can make us feel that we have a dark cloud hanging over us. We go from one worrying thought to another and it can be absolutely exhausting!!
When we worry about things it causes us stress and affects our health - with us unable to function properly. The reason that worrying can have such a negative effect on us is that when we worry, we use our imagination to make the worry as big as possible - until it consumes our whole thought process. When this happens, we can't enjoy being in the present moment and we are unable to enjoy our day.
Most worries can be put into two categories:
1) Worrying about real problems.
2) Worrying about what might happen.
Lets look at number one first - worrying about real problems. Worrying doesn't take the problem away. Worrying is like waiting at a bus stop on Christmas day... It's something to do but it won't get you anywhere. So how can we help ourselves out of this situation?
Firstly, you will need a notepad and a pen. Preferably a nice notepad and a favourite pen. On the front of your notepad, put a sticker on it with your name on it and the words 'challenge book'. Putting the words 'challenge book' rather than 'problem book' will make you feel differently about the situation. 'Problem' is something horrible we wish would go away whereas 'challenge' is more positive - and we all like a good challenge!
Write down the challenge that is worrying you. By writing it down, you have allowed the logical part of your brain to take control of the situation, rather than your imaginative part - which builds up a big picture of the worst scenario possible. When writing it down, you can be factual about the situation and see it more clearly. Also, because you have written it down, you can put the thoughts about the situation to the back of your mind and return to them when you wish.
Now allocate yourself a certain amount of time that you need to address the problem. You don't have to try and solve every challenge all in one go, as long as you are making progress. Just give yourself the amount of time you need that feels right for you. If you try and deal with the challenge when you are not in the best frame of mind then you won't be able to give it your best so do it when you feel ready.
Look at the practical things that you can do to complete the challenge, even if it means getting help from others to do this. Two heads are better than one and you might see things differently when someone else sees it through other eyes. By chipping away at the challenge you will be making it smaller until it is finally, no longer relevant. As you make it smaller you will worry less until it's finally no more.
Now lets look at number two - worrying about what might happen.
We all do it! We all use the 'what if' phrase. When we worry about what might happen, we use our powerful imagination to make the 'what if' situation as big as possible - until we can't think of anything else. We see the very worse scenario possible until we feel so bad, it effects us mentally and physically. The reason why we feel so bad when we worry is because our subconscious reacts to worries as though they are real. That’s why it can make us physically and emotionally ill by worrying so much.
So, write down in your notebook, the situation as you are imagining it. Write it down as though you are writing down a script for a film; which is what worry is - it's a film that you are watching in your head. Write it down exactly as you see it and anything that's relevant. Who is in the film that's imagined in your head - exactly as you see it? Open your notebook and write this down on the left hand page (1).
Now, on page two, write down the exact opposite of the imagined 'what if' situation. You are the director of your film - so, you are the boss so, you can write the script of what you 'want' to happen, rather than what you don't.
Here is an example: Rob is going to be the best man at his brother's wedding which is in three weeks time. He is worried that he is going to make a fool of himself. He is scared he will stumble over his words and that people will find his speech boring - as he imagines it in his mind - the guests of the wedding yawning or even laughing at his speech. He imagines his posture uncomfortable and nervous. Rob is worrying about himself so much that he feels physically sick and is thinking of backing out of being best man. This is the film that Rob has created in his mind and has written on page one.
Now Rob has rewritten his film on page two of what he wanted to happen. Rob has written the exact opposite of what he wrote on page one. He sees himself clearly, sounding confident and relaxed. He sees the guests smiling and laughing at his funny speech in a positive way. Rob now can't wait to be the best man at the wedding!
Once you have written the new version of your film on page two and are happy you have written the opposite of page one. Take out page one of the book and rip it up into lots of pieces, take a deep breath and blow it away! The reason for ripping out page one is that eventually you will have a notepad with only positive events that you would like to overcome, and you will be surprised how good this will make you feel!
Don't forget to pick up the pieces of paper though, you don't want to worry about being arrested for dropping litter!
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Elaine Marsh C DIP,EH, CP,NLP,ABH, CHYP, MPMH CPDFebruary 1st, 2017