“Worry is a misuse of the imagination.”
~ Dan Zadra
We worry to feel productive. At the end of the day, if we have wrung our hands, taken a lot of deep and mournful sighs, we go home tired and feeling like we have worked hard.
But we haven’t. We’ve just spun our wheels, wallowed in our own poop and gotten no closer to tackling the thing that has us worrying in the first place.
So how do we stop worry? Here are a few tips for getting off the Worry Wagon!
- Call it what it really is: Clearly name the thing you are worrying about. Then ask yourself, “What is the worst thing that can happen?” You may not like the answer but in most cases, the real risk to you is quite small. Then remind yourself that rarely and I mean RARELY does the worst thing come to pass.
- Get your heart rate up with exercise: Worry is a big ole do-loop in the brain. It is a repetitive thought playing over and over and over. The more this happens the more it will continue to happen. Neuropathways are laid down every time you have a thought, making it easier to keep worrying. So, stop this pattern with exercise. Exercise is a proven way to change your brain chemistry, giving your body something else to do. It is proven to reduce the worry AND tone your muscles. Get ON the treadmill so you can get OFF the mental Hamster Wheel from Hell.
- Cut yourself some slack: We are our own worst enemy. I bet if a friend came to you with the same worry that you are having, you would meet this worry with kindness. You wouldn’t say “Well that is a fine mess you’ve gotten yourself into! You better get ready for some real sh*t to come down on you.” No, you would meet them with a more compassionate and “right-sized” approach. So do this for yourself, okay!
- Quit feeding the monster: There is nothing worse than Googling a health problem that you have. “Oh my gosh, dry cuticles could be the first signs of adrenal failure!” This kind of research and rumination (even when the desire is to find solutions) only makes things worse. I discovered early on as a parent that reading parenting and child development books only made my life (and the life of my kids) worse. I took a whole box of them to the used book store and never looked back. So quit feeding the monster.
- If you can’t stop worrying, then do it right! Dive deep, kvetch, lament, whine and wallow . . . then move on. Make time to worry then mark it off your list.
Lastly, speak the truth to yourself. Give yourself a little touch of love. WORRYING IS NOT PRODUCTIVE. It is pseudo-work that accomplishes nothing.
Cheri is a speaker, trainer, coach and has authored two books. She helps people and organizations break out of old mindsets so they can lead happy, motivated and fired up lives. She blogs to ignite you and help you get unstuck!