We are discussing how to stop worry from depleting you and being an energy zapper. Energy zappers are habits or social behaviors which are a part of everyday life, but unfortunately do very little to enhance our sense of well-being!
Worrying is an obsessive pattern of fearful thinking and feeling about the unknown or what might happen.
Worrying, I believe, is based in fear. Worriers attempt to assuage their fear by trying to anticipate and control their surroundings. This many times creates a hyper-vigilance which can lead to anxiety and nervousness. Chronic worriers often feel depressed, fatigued, frustrated, and even angry. The sad irony about worrying is although it is an instinctual coping mechanism we utilize to calm our fears, it is actually cultivating a more chaotic and depleted spirit. Clearly, worrying has no health benefits.
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For years, I argued the point with my husband that it was because of my worrying that things got done on time and done well. Wow, did I give worrying way too much credit! Why? Because contrary to my beliefs, worrying did not make me a more efficient or productive person or a better mom- wife – therapist, it just made me more stressed! Not a healthy return on my investment into this negative way of being.
Okay so let’s get down to business and examine 3 Tips for Staying Recharged. These three cognitive exercises work. But, you have be patient and diligent as you implement them until they become as natural to you as worrying.
3 Tips For Staying Recharged & Stop Worry
Tip One: Stop The Thought And Replace It.
- Stop the thought. As you go about your day and start to worry shift the thought. Visualize yourself actually identifying the worry, stopping it, scooping it up, and tossing it out of your mind.
- Replace the thought. Immediately replace it with a positive thought! Remember, we cannot think too opposing thoughts at the same time.
Some examples are: This is going to work out. There is no reason to worry – I’ve know she will be safe. I can’t control them; I can only control my own thoughts! I’m letting it go. If the worry comes back, repeat the exercise! Keep practicing. It will get easier.
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Tip Two: Ask Yourself What’s The Worst Thing That Could Happen?
This exercise may sound a little strange, but it works. Whatever you are worrying about, play out the worry until you cannot go any further with it. It actually starts to sound ridiculous. Let me give you a simple example.
Me: Honey, when our guests come over for dinner, I’d like to eat outside, but I’m worried it might rain.
Dan: Well, let’s plan for that. What’s the worst that could happen?
Me: It starts raining and we have to bring everything in. And the dinner might get ruined.
Dan: That’s true. But what is the worst thing that could happen?
Me: Well, I guess if the dinner was a mess we could order pizza. But, what if our guests don’t want pizza?
Dan: Then, we can all go out to eat! What is worse than that?!
Me: I give up! (and start laughing)
Although I realize this might not work for more serious issues, so much of worrying is about insignificant stuff and this works well. Try it. And by the way, you don’t need another person to do this exercise, just play it out in your mind.
Tip Three: Trust In The Past.
This is important. For most of us, the things we worry about never come to fruition. What we feared would happen, doesn’t. So, turn to your experiences and trust in the past. As you start recalling different examples of when you were worried and stressed about a situation, remember your truth – it all worked out. You got through it. Give yourself credit. Replay these validations again and again, recharging yourself in the process. Feel yourself as you let go of the fear, and trust in what you know.
Publishers Notes: Holli Kenley is an American Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and the author of “ Daughters Betrayed By Their Mothers: Moving from Brokenness to Wholeness” and “Power Down & Parent Up!: Cyber Bullying, Screen Dependence & Raising Tech-Healthy Children”