With our newsletter we are keen to pass on self-help techniques that our readers can use to find relief and enhance their lives. Here are five tried and tested ways to retrain your brain to let go of constant worry. If you are worrying unproductively, we hope that there is something here for you.
Chronic worrying is a learned, conditioned behaviour which many suffer from. It seems there is at least one worrier in every family. Have you heard, “Who will worry if I don’t?” or “Somebody needs to worry!” said. These thoughts are not uncommon, many equate worry with being a responsible adult. We tell ourselves that we worry because we appreciate the seriousness of a situation and through worry we can sort out problems. Worrying can have a use if it makes us take action, however, going over and over a problem in our head doesn’t solve anything and we end up overwhelmed and exhausted.
Here are some techniques that can help to break this pattern:
Live in the Present Moment: Worrying keeps you from enjoying the present and the practice of mindfulness (being conscious in the present moment without thoughts about the past or future) if practiced regularly, is recommended for reducing all types of stress. In order to do this decide on a time of day when you will analyse and explore your worries and postpone your worrying until then. If you need to ,write down your worries and then forget them knowing that you will deal with them later.
Try to spend more time doing things you love – This will certainly focus you in the present. If you can make more time for physical activities your attention will be on your body an not on the self-talk in your head.
Be conscious of your thoughts and separate yourself from them. Challenge your thoughts, and then look for thoughts that are less worrying and that make you feel a little better.
Don’t fight with yourself over your worries “What you resist, persists!” Just accept them for what they are – pessimistic projections into the future. Many say that by worrying they prevent unpleasant surprises. Well worrying doesn’t really prepare you for what happens and it often leaves you with depleted resources to cope.
Make a mind movie of what you are worrying about. Watch it from the back of the cinema, see it in colour and hear the soundtrack. Notice how you feel. Then move yourself further and further away from the screen. Turn down the soundtrack and fade the colours. Reduce all the sensory input so that the movie is difficult to see and hear and thus difficult to feel negative about. Do this until you can’t access the movie and you don’t care anyway.
Now make a mind movie of what you would like to happen (you may need to practise this if you are used to creating Doom and Disaster Movies about the future). Add pleasing detail, listen to the encouraging things people are saying, make the colours vivid, see the faces smiling. Notice how you feel. Exaggerate and embellish until you feel really, really good.
Run this movie whenever you find yourself slipping into your old habit of worry.
And, of course, SIT AND TAP (this is number 6!) – just tap whilst worrying. It will calm down the central nervous system and return you to a state of balance.
Jocelyn and Kristina at Trance-Formed