When you’re stuck in worry mode… you may know that it is counter-productive, and yet it can be so easy to stay stuck in the pattern of worrying. Some people are more prone to worry than others and it can be very difficult to move out of it, even when you know it’s not helping.
The key to breaking the worry cycle is self-awareness. Here are some strategies to help you identify what’s really going on and break free from unhelpful worry:
- First, ask yourself if you have any control over the thing you’re worrying about. If the answer is yes, then identify at least one action that you can take right now to address the situation.
- If the answer is no – you don’t have any control over it, ask yourself why you are putting energy into something you have no control over. Is this something you want to put your energy into? What can you do to help yourself to feel even a little bit better about the situation?
- Identify when the worry started. What was happening in your life and how were you feeling before you started to worry? When you start really paying attention to this, you may find that when things are going well in your life and you’re feeling good, all of a sudden you start to worry about something. This is your past programming and conditioning kicking in – it means you’re in the process of moving beyond what you learned was possible for you and your programming says “Wait a minute, you can’t be this happy, things can’t go this well, there must be something wrong, so let’s find something to worry about.” You’ve reached what Gay Hendricks (in his book The Big Leap) calls ‘The Upper Limit Problem.’
- Relaxation techniques, such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing, walking in nature, etc., will help your mind and body to calm down. When you feel calmer you are more open to solutions coming to you.
- Turn your negative ‘what if’s’ into positive ones. For example – “what if this doesn’t work?” can be turned into “what if this works really well?” or “what if I don’t know how to do it right?” can be turned into “what if I have everything I need to be able to do this?” This is one of my favorite techniques because it’s so effective.
The most important thing is to become more aware of your thoughts, of how you feel, of when you start to worry, about what triggers the worry, what was happening before, and so on. Awareness really is the key to turning things around.
Action Step: Take an inventory of anything you are currently worried about. Ask yourself what each worry is really about. Learn as much as you can about it - your thoughts, feelings, triggers, etc. Become aware of any patterns and decide if this is where you want your energy to go.
This affirmation will help:
“I release the need to worry and choose to channel my energy and thoughts in ways that are positive and supportive.”
P.S. If you haven't read The Big Leap yet, I highly recommend it. It's been one of my favorite books for several years, and one I refer to often.