Hello, how are you?
Let me tell you about my journey with worry.
When I was young I worried constantly, and I learnt to worry so much that I began to worry about the moments that I was not worried!
I thought that if I worried about things it might make The Universe, God or Mother Nature (take your pick) spare me.
It became obsessional: a mantra to ward off the bad.
Guess what, the bad still happened.
Worrying gives us nothing.
Nothing changes with worry, except that worrying steals the “here and now” from us.
Precious moments that do not come back.
When I had my children, my worrying had new meaning: and when they grew and flourished and left me, my worry voice grew so loud that I thought I would explode with the complete and intolerable anxiety.
Now children are supposed to grow and flourish and fly, and parents are supposed to embrace new freedoms (hopefully) but for me my imagination went to the dark side, and I imagined such terrible things that I could not sleep, or function in way where worry left me for any significant amount of time.
I needed to put on my big girl pants and let go of worry. I needed to drop old habits and mantras and move away from dwelling on the terrible things that could and unfortunately do happen, but also, and importantly: might not happen.
As a child, when overwhelmed, I would daydream. I would switch off and disappear into a world where all was well and happy and imagine that the unobtainable perfection we chase, but which does not exist, was reality.
I have tried this as an adult and it is ok up to a point, BUT be careful, denial is not healthy.
I had to unlearn old habits that had served me well as a child and learn new ways to cope with worry.
It is difficult to rip up our learnt script but what we learn we can unlearn:
Acknowledge your worry.
What are you worried about?
Sit with your worry for an appropriate time, but not too long.
Then, ask yourself what you can do about it.
If you can do something about it, do that.
If you cannot…………let that worry go.
Sounds easy doesn’t it?
Like any skill it takes practice.
You can apply this technique to your worries, and it will allow you to function day to day in a productive way. It will free up time to be in the moment and find joy in small ways and your energy will flow in a more positive direction.
At the very least you will get jobs done and function in a productive way: keeping your boss happy, keeping your colleagues happy and who knows, opening yourself up to being happier at work.
You may find, like me, that you do not overwhelm your children with your panic and worry…(my children are reading this and thinking about the rules I repeated (and still repeat) as they embark on exciting nights out, trips abroad etc): but for me it worked, I changed what I could by explaining and discussing legitimate worries over their vulnerability and negotiated a system of contact ability.
However, you may find your self overwhelmed by significant worry, that becomes anxiety and that disables you so much that you revert to old ways that served you well when you navigated your childhood.
Or obsessive controlling tendencies that stifle and irritate those around you.
These old patterns of relating no longer help you and your day to day life becomes increasingly more difficult, but they are familiar, and you are tired.
I can help you with this.
Worry is here to stay; we all do it. But we do not have to let it dominate us and our lives. We could schedule time to worry later and open ourselves up to accepting wonderful and simple experiences that lift us and give us resilience to return to that legitimate worry, ready to think about what we can do about it, or whether we give it back to The Universe, God or Mother Nature as the worry is beyond our control.
Let me leave you with this thought:
If worrying changes nothing, then there is nothing to be gained from worrying.
If changing something reduces worry, there is much to be gained from that change.