I don't want to brag, but in the past, I could have claimed gold at the worrier's Olympics. It was crapola and left me feeling exhausted and on edge. You may not be an Olympic level worrier like I was, but we all worry sometimes.
This blog will give you the three keys to dealing with worry and the one biggest pitfall to avoid.
I have talked about common things we avoid, like doing the dishes or feeling bored and frustrated, and how we avoid them, like being on our phones, but I haven't talked about avoiding our own minds - our limiting or painful thoughts that leave us feeling awful.
In the thought-work side of coaching, I talk a lot about this sequence:
Event --->> Thoughts --->> Feelings ---> Actions ---> Results
There is only so much we can shape what happens in our lives, but we can work with our thinking patterns to change how we feel and hence our actions and the results we get in our lives.
At this point it's important to note that I'm not talking about being relentlessly positive and ignoring bad behaviour or things in our lives that don't work for us.
What I am talking about is working with your thoughts to reduce your unnecessary suffering (negative feelings) now.
It leaves you feeling more peaceful, clear-headed and less flooded with stress hormones, so you can make decisions that will leave you in good stead and enjoy your life more.
The habit we want to slowly move away from is avoiding worry.
This is not to label avoidance 'bad'. It's served you well to survive in reasonable stead, it's helped you feel safe, after all it's your body's way of protecting you.
Unfortunately, avoidance has two not so great results in our lives:
1. Not dealing with the issue.
2. Increasing worry and stress responses about the issue.
So you can see how a cycle occurs, whereby we worry about an event, avoid thinking about it (e.g. a good internet session, a glass or two of wine, chocolate) and nothing is resolved nor constructive action taken. Later, when you remember the issue, you feel even worse. Rinse. Repeat. Ugh.
Instead of that cycle of blah, what are the three key ways to dealing with worry?
ONE. Listen to your thinking and write down your worry. Go on, do it!
TWO. Once you've written down every bit of your worries, ask yourself three questions.
Does this worry have a message for me? If you're worrying about money it's message may be that you could benefit from spending more mindfully. If it's about your friends hating you, it could be that you'd like to spend more quality time with them.
Is it true?
Is it improving your life to believe the thought or bringing you down and causing you to go into survival mode - fight (picking fights?), flight (escaping) or freeze (paralysing worry)?
Well, technically you're already acting with key two, and this is BRILLIANT because worry thoughts hate to be looked at in the cold light of day. They prefer to go under the radar rather than be seen for what they are - our minds trying to be a) useful and b) to protect us.
You could also act by soothing your system. When we are really worried, our stress hormones are pumping, adrenaline and it's friends. Our bodies are under stress. Given this, deeeep breathing helps a lot. So does fresh air and a walk. So does talking to yourself in kind ways that you long for. They all soothe our bodies and get us out of survival mode.
Lastly, it will definitely help to act to remove any stressors beneath the worries, where possible. Take small steps towards it. Any action will feel better than none.
So there you go, listen, question and act - the three keys to dealing with worry!
Here's to a life with far less worry.
Lara x x x
**If you'd like some liberation from worry and stress, give me a bell! Thought-work and reducing stress and anxiety are some of my superpowers. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and phone number and I'll be in touch for a chat to see if I can be of service to your aims and dreams!
Hi, I'm Dr Lara Corr, life coach and researcher in work and wellbeing. I coach successful 30 and 40 somethings who want more fulfilling or bigger careers but doubt themselves and their options. I help them get out of their own way, find direction and go for what they really want.