We are pre-programmed to worry. It comes from our days on the plains when we had to concern ourselves with things such as food, fire, and shelter. Fast forward to today where our basic needs are being met, but worry remains; it can still function for us but at times can take up too much space and energy in our lives. Sometimes worry is a learned behaviour; often times we identify with a parent that has had a history of it. The good news, is that it doesn’t have to be like that forever; we can give ourselves permission to “unlearn the worry.” This involves 4 steps:
- Ask yourself, “What am I worried about?” in order to identify what is occupying your thoughts.
- Is this a true alarm or a false one? (This can trip people up as all worries feel like a true alarm; emotion trumps reason after all. Focus instead on the facts of the worry:what do you know right now?)
- Is there something I can do about the worry, at this moment? If the answer is yes, do it. Direction and plan always help process.
- And if there is nothing you can do about the worry right now, give yourself permission to back burner it. Put it on a shelf in a box that says “Will worry about this later.”
In the beginning, writing it out often helps as worrying is a pretty ingrained behaviour so it will be important to practice. Using these four steps can help bring yourself to a place of worrying less and feeling more settled.
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