What I have uncovered about worry is that it is always sustained by the perspective: I don’t know what to do! This sends our brain into panic mode because our brain wants to always know what to do. The brain loves to think linear, and when it cannot it gets overwhelmed. When there is trouble aka circumstances that are unfavorable our brain immediately jumps into trying to figure out what to do. When it can’t, it starts to feel out of control. Now cue worry!
I like to think of worry as going on a really fast merry-go-round ride that isn’t stopping anytime soon. You feel sick, overwhelmed, confused and even at times helpless, but it’s a constant loop that just keeps going. I call it the worry loop, and when we are in the worry loop we feel bad. We are trying to figure it out, and because we can’t see a way out it creates even more frustration and worries! Tiresome, right?
So what can we do, to help break the worry loop?
Step one: awareness
We must become aware of how we are feeling, which is worried. And you can do this by checking-in with yourself at least a few times a day. You know how you would check in with someone who is sick because you want to make sure they’re taken care of? Well, you need to start doing this for yourself because worrying makes you feel sick, sometimes literally! To do this, put your hand on your heart and with your eyes shut, ask yourself how am I feeling right now? Really feel into the emotions present in your space and label them for WHAT THEY ARE, not HOW THEY MAKE YOU FEEL.
Identifying as the emotion: I am worried
Noticing the emotion: This is worry
Identifying as the emotion: I am fearful
Noticing the emotion: This is fear
Identifying as the emotion: I am resentful
Noticing the emotion: This is resentment
This allows you to see your emotions as separate from you and not see yourself as them. Creating this gap between you and the emotion then, lets them be what they are: energy in motion = emotions.
Step two: breathe
There is a reason your breath is your life-force energy because it has the ability to calm you down. When you are worried you are not breathing! Your breathing is shallow and short. This is why yoga teachers tell you to breathe into the postures you’re holding when you practice yoga because your breath literally allows energy to move through your body easily. If your breath is shallow and short, the energy is moving really slow and your emotions are going to feel like glue. So take long and full breathes. Imagine taking in all the air in the room and expanding like a balloon, and then breathe out deeply as if you are a balloon deflating. This should be the rhythm of your breath pattern. Doing this will help slow down the brain waves and calm the mind down.
Step three: Do something that makes you feel good and lifts you up
The reason this step is so important because the solution will not come when you are worried. The energy of worry is not the energy from which the solution will arise. You have to train your mind to change into another energetic reality, and the best way to do this is to engage in something that feels good. Why? Because this allows you to redirect your focus from the worry to an activity you can be engaged in. Some examples of things you can do to get on the feel-good train: exercise, call someone and ask how you can help them, play with you dog/cat, go for a walk without music and listen to the world around you and imagine yourself dispelling the worry energy into the earth with each step you take, watch a tv show that makes you laugh, cook a meal that you love to eat. Did you notice all the activities I mention have to do with your brain engaging and plugging into something else that literally requires it to shift the focus?
Lather, rinse and repeat this process daily, and you will start to feel differently, and as you feel differently you will be in the energy of the things you worry about working out for you.
The things you worry about can only work out for you when you stop worrying and start feeling good.
Feeling good is more productive than worrying ever will.
Hakuna Matata, right?
Another quick tip is that I have found is super helpful for me when I am in the worry loop is to interject and say out loud three things I am grateful for. I have found this stops my mind from festering in overthinking and conceptualizing and asks it to find ways that my life right now at this moment is actually working. Listing things off that I am grateful really brings that shift for me, and helps me remember there are actually things in my life that are working regardless of what I think isn’t working, which is often the reason I worry.