Wouldn’t it be nice to be carefree, with no worries at all? Well, it isn’t all that easy… You can’t just decide to stop worrying: human brains are remarkably good at scanning for problems, so we need to actively engage in behaviours that reduce excessive worrying instead. That’s why today’s activity is to take a worry dump.
Today, all you need to do is put five or ten minutes aside in the afternoon. Take a deep breath or two, get comfortable, and focus on anything and everything you’re worried about:
Step 1: Write it all down in a notepad (even if it makes no sense or seems silly), as much as you can for up to ten minutes, then STOP. Set a timer if you need to.
Step 2: Now remind yourself that most of the things we worry about never happen, or are greatly exaggerated. Remind yourself that humans are pretty good at solving problems too. Also remember, a certain amount of worry can be helpful under some circumstances. For example, it can be useful as part of a troubleshooting exercise, so it isn’t always a bad thing.
Step 3: Next, go through your list, and cross off anything that you know is probably irrational. That tells you these particular items are not really worth worrying about (technically this is *you* choosing to tell yourself it isn’t worth worrying about).
Step 4: Finally, if there’s anything left on your worry list that isn’t crossed out, commit to tackling your worry tomorrow even if it’s one small first step. There are many ways to reduce worry & anxiety, such as being generally proactive in life, tackling debts, making an appointment to see your GP, and so on.
This exercise can be a helpful way to break the cycle of worrying, and put things into more perspective. Give it a try to see whether it works for you.
What’s happening here
Yesterday was Something to look forward to, and I made two diary dates with myself. The smaller one was a soak in the bath, which I’ll do this evening for some pampering after a long day out. The larger diary date is the longer activity to do before the end of the month, and we’re now booked in for a special meal at a posh restaurant in a couple of weeks. We had an experience day meal voucher that had been sitting around for ages, so finally we’re using it for lunch from their set menu. Can’t wait!
I’ll do the worry exercise while the bath is running this evening. Most of my worries are caused by what’s been in the news lately, but at the same time there’s not much I can do about them so maybe that realisation could be helpful in itself….
Do you find yourself worrying about anything irrational from time to time? Do you also have any useful worries that help you to do better?