Worry is everywhere these days.
It’s always available.
Day or night.
When things don’t go as planned: worry.
When things are going as planned: worry.
Worry about relationships, money, future, health.
To top it off we worry about worry as if we don't have enough to worry about. (That was just fun to see how many times I can say worry in a sentence.)
Worry has nothing to do with what is actually happening because it focuses on the ‘what if's
We THINK worry will magically disappear when we can plan or predict an outcome. But it doesn’t.
40,000+ thoughts flow through our minds daily and we tend to focus on the ones that our attention is already on. If you're thinking that you are so worried about the outcome of something, your amazing brain goes to work to prove that thought. Think of your brain like google. Whatever you tell it to find, it will.
I remember getting ready for a family cruise. My son was about 4 at the time. About 2 weeks prior to leaving, I started to have panic that my son would fall off the side of the ship. The worry got so bad that I almost canceled my trip. The worry robbed me of my peace and my sleep. My body was experiencing physical symptoms of this worry and stress. I felt it in my stomach, my back, and especially in my jaw.
As much as I wanted that feeling to go away, my mind just kept throwing the craziest thoughts at me. Suppressing emotions is like holding a beachball down in water. You can only hold it down for so long. Once you let the ball go, it's going to pop up with more force than had I just let the ball float. I decided to apply this analogy to my feelings. Rather than sitting in bed making myself ill over a 'what if', I just recognized what my brain and body were doing.
I allowed myself to process that emotion.
I reminded myself that I can't go off 'what if' scenarios. Each time I would start feeling that anxiousness, I would pause and take a look at my thoughts. Instead of focusing on how my son was going to fall to his death on the cruise ship, I decided to shift my thoughts about it. I could trust that I would pay attention to him when the time came and that I would keep him safe.
The panic came and I allowed it. I reminded myself of my new thoughts that I would be there to keep him safe. I remember watching the emotion of worry process through my body and leave. There was no more panic. No more sleepless nights.
It was the first time in my life that I felt in control of my anxiety. I have applied this processing technique to every area of my life and it has changed me. I don't deal with anxiety nearly as much because I recognize that it is coming from the thoughts I am thinking. But if it does show up, I remind myself that it's part of being human and I don't have to make it go away.
Become aware of your thoughts.
Emotions are part of the human existence.