More tips on how to curb your worrying:
1. Brain-storm Solutions: Free-associate all the possible ideas that could be useful in tackling your biggest problem. These are not yet decisions, so don’t dismiss ideas too soon. Be as creative as you can and try to think beyond your usual problem-solving process. For example, if you were a ‘confident person’, how would you deal with this issue? Then after you have reviewed your ideas and selected those that are viable, start to identify courses of action.
2. Small Steps Forward: This is often the point where many of us get stuck and this is usually because the action steps we have identified are too big. So the next stage is to break these steps down into smaller ones - actions that could take as little as five minutes to complete, such as booking an appointment with your son’s head-teacher or finding the number of your bank manager. The important thing is to DO something - ACTION is the antidote to worrying!
3. Check your worrying isn’t something else: We often bundle together thinking, reflecting, problem-solving, planning and preparing into ‘worrying’, when much of it is actually productive. Learn to separate pointless fretting (such as replaying a memory) and positive planning, such as working out the best way to approach your boss. Turn your thinking into bullet points to show the steps you are going to take in moving forward.
4. Learn to let go: If you cannot take any action or change your attitude to a particular worry, then notice how many times it bothers you and start to say no to it. When this worry pesters you, tell it you are bored with it now, and let it go. Then do something different to shift your energy, such as go to a yoga class or phone a friend.
5.Twenty-minute worrying: Psychologists agree that if we set aside specific time to 'simply worry' - we will actually find it very hard to do! If you are still finding you are preoccupied with worrying, give yourself twenty minutes at the start or end of the day in which you will do nothing else except worry. If worries bubble up during the day, tell yourself you’ll save them for your next twenty-minute worry period. By the time you get there, they might have shifted anyway!
By following these steps you’ll transform your worrying - you’ll shift from being overwhelmed - to taking positive steps forward to a more powerful you!
Five Key Benefits of getting worries ‘out of your head’ and on to paper:
· Gain immediate release and relief, because you are getting every-day matters off your chest (like a weight being lifted from your shoulders - leads to better sleep.)
· Once your worries are on paper, you can see new choices and courses of action.
· Get clarity about the bigger picture and see how you might have got some things out of proportion.
· Turn stress into problem-solving.
· Increase your self-esteem, because you are taking responsibility and moving your position from being passive and powerless to pro-active!
For more on writing and maps to help with worrying, see The Self-Esteem Journal