In my last blog posting, I offered a self-quiz for you to fill out on how well you handle worry. How did you fare?
As you could see, some of the questions indicated poor ways to deal with worries, such as keeping them inside or lying awake all night letting them overtake you. Others offered more effective coping mechanisms to help reduce worry, such as writing them down, doing some exercise or making a gratitude list.
I like those suggestions but, over time, I have developed three favourite techniques that work together to grapple with my worries. I’d like to share them with you.
Set a time to worry
I make specific time to eat breakfast, specific time to exercise, specific time to work, specific time to shower – and specific time to worry!
All day long, thoughts run through our heads, many of them filled with worries. They can become an endless loop that get you nowhere and only increase your worry!
So instead of letting worries rule me throughout the day, I set aside specific time to address my worries!
For me, it’s usually after dinner that I sit down and turn my focus to all of the things that have unsettled me that day. Although you might want to, I don’t set a clock. I allow whatever time it takes to consider my worries, using my second technique to cope with them.
Tap your way to relaxing your mind and body
As you may know from reading my blogs, I am a big fan of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT), which is also known as tapping. By using my fingertips to apply acupressure to specific points on my body while thinking about my worries, I am able to clear my mind and relax my body so that I can start from a better place to address my worries.
While tapping, ask yourself key questions to decide which worries are real – and which are not
Some worries really are worth your time and energy to resolve – and some are not. How to tell the difference?
I find my answers to those questions through a method of self-inquiry developed by U.S. author and speaker Katie Byron, which is simply known as doing “the work.” I continue to tap while working my way through the self-inquiry to keep myself relaxed and my mind clear, logical and creative.
Based on her method, I ask myself four key questions:
- Is it true? That is, is what I’m worrying about true? The answer is a simple yes or no. But you won’t believe how often the answer will be no!
- Can I absolutely know that it is true? Do I have any real evidence to support the veracity of the worry? Once again, yes or no will do! And once again, you may find yourself often struggling to come up with real proof that your worry is valid.
- How do I react to my worrisome thought? What emotions are evoked, what physical and emotional sensations do I experience, and how do I react?
- How can I reframe it? Already by asking whether it is true and I have proof, I will have dispensed with many of my worrisome thoughts. For those that are true and backed by evidence, I then have to ask myself how my worrisome thought can be looked at differently. How can I change the way I look at that worry in a way that will help resolve it.
Try setting aside worry time and deal with it as I’ve described. You may really find these techniques help to set your mind at ease!