Make worry work for you

Glamour (South Africa) - - Self -

“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.

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