If you’re worrying, relax.
Worry means you’re safe.
For most of my life, I worried about things. I’d constantly turn things over in my mind, considering them from every possible angle , looking at all the the things that could possibly go wrong. Sometimes it’d be a deliberate, practical way to make sure I was prepared but mostly it was that sort of absent minded way you play with a broken tooth. Teasing the future to find out just how bad it could be.
Looking back, I didn’t think of myself as a worrier at the time. It was just how I was. I guess I thought everyone did it. Other than those ultra confident souls who seem to fly through their lives entirely untroubled by self-doubt, of course…
A short while ago, whilst I was working with a client, they came up with a wonderful way of looking at worry. They’d just realised that ‘worry’ happens when you get wrapped up in an unpleasant version of the future that your brain’s making up, so you’re not taken by surprise when it all goes horribly wrong.
The conversation went a bit like this:
My client: “Ahhh! So, if you’re worrying, you can relax…”
Now that got my attention.
“How so?” I asked.
My client: “Well, if you’re worrying, then you’re living in the future. Scaring yourself silly about what could go wrong, right?”
I nodded, wondering where this was going
My client: “….so your unconscious brain would only let you do that if you’re safe right now, wouldn’t it? So you can relax because you must be OK right now!”
I really like this way of looking at things.
In essence, worry is a luxury. Worry means you’re safe.
If there were something going wrong right now, you’d be dealing with it. Staying alive right now is priority number one in the survival stakes.
You deal with what’s in front of you first. Tomorrow’s another day.
So actually, this client’s absolutely right. Strange as it may seem, if you’re worried, you can take comfort from knowing that worry means you’re safe right now.
How can you use this?
When you notice that you’re doing some worrying, remind yourself of this:
- If I’m worrying, then I must be OK right now.
- If I’m OK right now I can relax a little.
- If I relax a little, I can think more clearly
- If I think more clearly, maybe I can plan instead of worry.
It’s not enough on it’s own to stop you worrying. But it really can calm things down. And the calmer you are the less chance that worry will spin out of control, running away with you.
Give it a go. I’d love to know how useful you find it.
Take a look around this website & check out the self articles whilst you’re here. There’s lots to choose from, (try the ‘suggested posts’ below).
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