“Worry is a misuse of the imagination.” – unknown
We have all found ourselves in endless loops of worry from time to time. Sometimes it truly is a crisis level situation that keeps you awake at night, but more often than not, it’s a low level issue that is being blown way out of proportion. Whatever the case may be, it can wreak havoc on your life, interfere with your sleep, upset your digestive system and it just plain doesn’t feel good. If you’re finding yourself in the “worry loop” here are 4 easy ways to help you calm your nerves, soothe your soul, and maybe even find a solution.
1. Assess the Threat. I find it’s always helpful to take an honest look a what the true implications of the situation are. If it goes badly, how deeply will it impact your life? Is it physically life threatening to you or someone close to you? Would there be dire consequences, such as the loss of your home or your job? If you answered yes to any of these, then it’s time for an emergency action plan, and that’s a separate issue.
2. Make an exhaustive list of solutions. This can be a really useful tool to get your brain moving in a different direction. List as many ways as you can think of to solve this problem. Example: List every way you can think of to….
- Have the tough conversation
- Create additional income
- Pay off the debt debt
- Get out of the relationship
- Open up to new romance
- Look for a new job
- Embrace healthier eating habits
- Improve your physical fitness
- Reduce your stress load
- Make 5 new friends
- Save $xxx more each month and spend $xxx less
Make sure to list 5 things minimum, but go for 10 or more. It’s when you start pushing the limits that creative thought kicks in.
3. Use what you’ve got. What could you be doing right now, today, to relieve some of the stress associated with worry? Are you allowing yourself enough downtime? Exercising regularly? Making healthy eating choices? Looking for advice and support? Even treating yourself to a massage or relaxing bath. While these steps alone may not solve the issue, you’ll be better prepared to deal with it and come to a favorable solution.
4. Take action. Nothing beats action for getting out of worry. Worry keeps us stuck and robs us of our power, bringing on feelings of helplessness and victimization. Review your list from step #3 and start working your way through it. Chances are you won’t need every item on the list, but at least now you have options.
I started this article with the adage “Worry is a misuse of the imagination.” This is one of those delightful old sayings that has been around forever, is often misquoted, and still very true. Worry is just another form of obsession, so why not take that energy and use it constructively?
Obsess on all of the things you could do to solve the problem.
Obsess on every step you could take to change the situation.
And Obsess on the best ways to take care of yourself through it.
Stress and worry are simply indicators that something is important to you and needs your attention.