Excessive worrying is a huge issue for many people. In a group of fourteen people (my usual workshop size), there is always at least two excessive worriers who will admit to it!
It has been proven beyond doubt that ‘the mind can’t tell the difference between something real and vividly imagined’. Harvard has done copious amounts research into this, resulting in overwhelming evidence which confirms that if we vividly imagine something, it feels every bit as real to us as it would had the ‘thing’ actually happened.
When we worry, picturing worst-case scenarios, our nervous system acts as if it were real. As with number one above, your thoughts and pictures aren’t real; YOU create them! Actual situations rarely turn out how we think they will, and so, worrying is, at best, unnecessary and at worst can be harmful.
To control excessive worry:
- Make a ‘Worry List’ allocating 10-15 minutes per day where you can review the list. Set a timer and sit somewhere uncomfortable, e.g. bottom of the stars. No worrying is allowed outside this time or in another place. By constricting how much time you devote to your negativity, you are containing the worry and not allowing it to overtake your day.
- Choose one day where you allow yourself to worry, e.g. ‘Worry Wednesday’, avoid allowing yourself to worry on any other day. If one does pop up in between, put off thinking about it until your next allocated ‘worry day’. By the time that comes around, you’ll likely have forgotten all about it.
Try these techniques for twenty-one days (the length of time it takes to change a habit) and see what a difference it makes to your life!