Make worry work for you
“Not all worry is equal,” says psychotherapist Philippa Perry, author of How To Stay Sane (Picador; R264). “There are the worries that give us a kick up the butt and lead to planning, action and acceptance of the things we can’t control. And then there are the unhelpful whirling sentences in our heads that start with the ‘what ifs’. But if we think of all worries as stimuli for learning and growth, we are more likely to embrace new challenges.”
Next time you find yourself tensing up, stressing out or feeling down, see it as an alarm bell; a catalyst for change. Take a step back, a deep breath and ask yourself what’s really wrong. Then break the problem down into tiny manageable pieces so that you can work out your worries, rather than letting them wear you down.
And try a mindfulness meditation process, like this one from helpguide.org: Acknowledge your anxious thoughts Don’t try to ignore them. Simply observe them as an outsider, without reacting or judging. Let your worries go When you don’t try to control them, they pass. It’s only when you engage that you get stuck. Focus on the present Concentrate on the way your body feels, the rhythm of your breathing, your ever-changing emotions and the thoughts that drift across your mind. If you get fixated on a particular thought, bring your attention back to the present moment. At first, you’ll find that your mind keeps wandering back to your worries, but don’t give up. Each time you get your focus back to the present, you’re reinforcing a new mental habit.