Worry & a cookie jar!
Are you a worrier? How much of your day do you spend worrying? About finances, the state of your love life, your partner, your children, how you're going to pay for your next holiday, your promotion (or lack thereof) etc etc. If you're nodding your head then this is for you!
If self care is filling up your inner cup, worry is one of the biggest drainers of that cup. Worry is a useless emotion,but it's a powerful one. It often occupies our head space morning noon and night and it can affect our sleep, mood and behaviour.
"Worry is like a rocking chair--it gives you something to do but it doesn't get you anywhere."
Isn't it so true! For what is worry but an emotion that is related to your response to a probable event in the future. When you worry, your frame of reference shifts to reacting on the basis of "what if"; a future event that is not only unrealised but probably will never be. When we center in the now and focus on the present, we can see that there is no need for worry. Worrying is useless for someone who lives fully in the moment. The now is the reality.
Ever worry so much about something only to find that it wasn't half as bad as you thought it would be and if you'd only known you wouldn't have worried in the first place?! For example, a presentation at work. You don't sleep for days beforehand, you're panicking about what people will say or think, you're stressed out at the idea of standing up in front of all those people and what if it all goes horribly wrong, you forget your words, stumble over the presentation, get facts wrong and come across like a bumbling babbling eejit.
The morning of the presentation you're sick with nerves, heart pounding and you've forgotten everything you've so carefully rehearsed. Panic sets in, sheer panic. Breathing.. you read something somewhere about breathing and so you take some deep cleansing breaths, calm yourself down and go to the presentation knees a knocking. Once you walk to the podium it starts and goes by in a flash. Afterwards, you realise that, while it was good to be prepared, you didn't need to worry so much about it. That the worry itself blinded you to the fact that you forgot certain facts or figures or you could have done it better but you were so busy not sleeping and feeling ill that you didn't see it.
By focusing your energies on what "might" happen, you're actually pouring energy into making it happen. Ever hear the one about the pink elephant? What do you do? No matter how hard you try, all you can think of is a pink elephant! Therefore when you say to yourself...."Stop worrying"....well you're just going to worry more and in doing so you're pouring that energy into what you don't want....the manifestation of your worries.
I don't know about you but it seems like a practical joke that when I'm worried about finances I always seems to receive bills!
"Worry is like praying for something you don't want..... to actually happen"
So how do you release worry? Well you can't! What?
I know, that's probably not what you want to hear! Worry is an emotion and life is full of events that will make us worry. So we can't ever be rid of it but what we can do is change our relationship to it. If we can learn to meet worry with tools and strategies so that its doesn't dis-empower us or get us caught in it's cycle.
How? It's not an overnight process. Nothing is. If you're a worrier then you've probably worried for a few years now, maybe even your whole life, so it will take some time to change your relationship with worry. But if you have faith and persist after just a couple of weeks you will notice a big difference.
What are the tools? Well there are a number of things that you can do some of which are:
1) The cookie jar. Developed by John Thie, a renowned Kinesiologist. I heard about this a few years ago and I though it was genius. Basically you write down what you're worried about on pieces of paper. One worry per piece and put them all into a glass jar. Every time that you worry, you say to yourself "Oh its in the jar, I'm not going to worry about". After a week, open the jar and go through your worries and take out the things that you're not worried about any more and add in new worries. Do the same thing again, put the jar away and promise that you won't worry about the contents for the week and again sit down a week later and go through the jar. And so on.This trains you to acknowledge the worry (writing it down) and to let it go (putting it in the jar). We can't stop the worries coming to our lives (hence it's not about having an empty jar), it's about learning to manage them in a different way.
2) Practice Mindfulness, proven to be one of the most effective ways to live in the present & combat worry (by now you might get the idea that I'm a bit of a fan!) You can use the headspace or calm apps and start with just 10 minutes a day
If you want worry to be a thing of the past then do the above, they work excellently for freeing you up from this useless emotion. This takes a little time to undo this habit, so don't put any expectations on yourself.
Thanks for reading!