We will all experience varying degrees of worry and anxiety in our lifetime. Here is a simple method of moving into an empowered position, over your anxiety. This is highly effective at times when anxiety may feel distressing.
- Do not fight the feelings of worry or anxiety. Doing so may enter you into conflict with your emotions. Conflict adds to worry and anxiety, and that increases your ‘adrenaline rush’ which prevents calming. Just allow your uncomfortable feelings to be what they are. Remind yourself that worry and anxiety are just emotions and that they cannot harm you.
- Go about your usual day but create a 20 minute ‘worry time’. This will be your daily focal point to sit and explore your worries in more depth. You can do this alone or with somebody else. Keep consistent; same time, same length of time and same place each day. My clients often tell me that they find early evening a good time for this; around 7pm.
- During your day, write down what your main worry is, on a piece of paper. Name it, own it and allow it, for it is yours.
- Do not go into thinking about the worry you have written down, any further, but save it for thinking about in your ‘worry time’, later. It is vital, if any thoughts about your worry come to you, that you firmly tell yourself that you will explore your worry in your allocated ‘worry time’ only and, until then, just reassure yourself that you are safe and that you are going to make progress toward a solution in your ‘worry time’.
- In your ‘worry time’ you can read the worry you have written down. Think about it and what is making you so worried about it. What is making you so anxious? Ask yourself if you have evidence to support your worry? Commit yourself to finding a positive alternative thought about the worry. Remind yourself how you would help a friend who was worried or anxious. You can help yourself this way.
- In your ‘worry time’, you have three tasks, as follows:
- Task A.
Think about these points 1) Is this a current problem? or 2) Is it ‘in the future’; something that is possible but that has not yet actually happened?
- Task B.
Think about whether there is someone who can support or help you. Sometimes things are easier if we let someone help us, even if they are just a ‘friendly ear’ we can talk to. Talking helps. If the problem is ‘in the future’, it has not happened yet and may not happen. Focus on what is ‘in the present’ before you start focusing on things that have not yet happened or may not happen.
- Task C.
Instead of trying to find the whole solution, identify the action/s you can take only in the next 24 hours, that will progress you a step forward toward a solution. Just write down what helpful action you can take between now and your next ‘worry time’, tomorrow. You now have a plan for the next 24 hours. Allow yourself to feel more hopeful and optimistic. Ask someone to help you with any aspect of Task C, if needed.
- Repeat the above tasks each day but only in your ‘worry time’. Be consistent. Do not skip a day. Doing the above will help stop you dwelling all day on the worry and it will also help you feel empowered, in control and optimistic.
- If you cannot achieve your action, identify why and either a) Try again or b) Create a new action to help you overcome the difficulty. Once overcome you can carry on with your original action next time.
You can do it. Believe in yourself. Ask for help. Pace yourself within these simple 24 hour steps. You will reach your destination.
(c) Deano Parsons. 2020.