The thing that frightened my husband most during my potentially fatal pregnancy complication was the fact that I was not worrying about what was going on.
So…my name is Tracy, and I am a worrier.
I tend to hide that fact as much as I can (another problem in itself) which means that it explodes in my head at strange times. I can tell you from personal experience that trying to pretend you’re not worried doesn’t work very well. So I was excited to find these two tips to deal with worries in A Woman’s Guide to Sleep: Guaranteed Solutions for a Good Night’s Rest by Joyce A. Walsleben, Ph.D., and Rita Baron-Faust.
1. Create a worry book
Use a simple notebook, or a section of your regular journal if the idea of having yet another notebook to write in causes you more worry. On the left hand side of the page, write down all the things that worry you. On the right hand side, list some forward motion on each of those items.
It may take some time to find an action to go with a particular worry…so don’t add that worry to your list! The idea is to both capture those concerns rolling around in your head and to brainstorm some possible solutions or actions to take to resolve them.
2. Worry productively
Choose a time and place where you can be alone, and in this time give yourself permission to worry. Worry freely, worry hard, worry widely. Write it all down in your worry book. Get it all out of your head.
Then, if you find yourself falling into Worryville at some other time of the day, tell yourself that you’ve already done your worrying for the day. The authors suggest telling yourself this: “I am not going there, I have done my worrying today, I’ll do it tomorrow. I have forgotten nothing, tomorrow I will go back where I left it and I’ll be fine. I should not be worrying now, and I wont.”
1. Like Wayne Dyer says, “the activity of worrying keeps you immobilized.” (Don’t I know it!) By creating a space to note forward actions on each worry, you counteract that immobilization. Not to mention that space tells your mind there IS something you can do, no matter how small. That’s a much more powerful place to live from!
2. It gives you some perspective about how much you’re actually worrying. In the midst of a rough time, it can feel like all you do is worry. By worrying productively, you may be better able to tell if there are simply a lot of things happening, or if your worries might be a symptom of an anxiety disorder.
Are you a worrier? What helps you cope? Share your thoughts in the comments!