Feeling Good: How To Quiet and Deal With Worries

It's a little bit of a left field post from me today, but it has come from seeing so many members of the blogging community and my own readers talk about their negative thoughts and worries and how hard it makes life for them. From anxiety to self deprecation and fear, there should be no stigma around any kind of mental illness. Our worries are just the result of our experiences. 

I want to share these with you and show you how you can effectively deal with the worries which can feel like they're taking over at times.

 That's ok everyone has periods where they don't feel like they're where they want to be, or feeling how they want to feel.

I wanted to give you a few helpful suggestions and also a fantastic technique to help you.

1. Your thoughts are not you
Really, they aren't. Your thoughts are like the annoying child that just will not keep quiet at a wedding while everyone else fake smiles and tries to pretend they aren't exceptionally annoyed. 

Try something for me, if you can sit back, close your eyes. Now I want you to just think about nothing but your breathing. As you do that, be aware of all the thoughts that pop into your head, don't worry about them just observe them as they pop in and then drift off to be replaced by something else. 
You see, you're able to sit there and observe your thoughts as they come to you. You are not your thoughts, you are the observer of your thoughts, and you have control. You can control whether or not you want to engage with them or merely let them go. 

2. We Are A Product of Our Experiences
Humans are massive sponges, from a young age we're soaking up experiences. The experiences we have with the world around us changes how we think and feel about things. 
Imagine as a child you have a bad experience in water, as an adult you are still a competent swimmer but your experiences as a child have made you fearful of water, nervous and overly cautious even though you may not necessarily need to be. 

You are unable to think objectively about it because your mind is clouding up your head with fears from previous experiences. This is a normal response, your body is trying to protect you in a way, using what it has learned to inform your life. 

But sometimes this gets in the way and affects our ability to function.

3. Thoughts Do Not Need to be Acted on or Engaged With
When I was dealing with anxiety the biggest thing I learned was that the thoughts I was having that scared me and caused me such anxiety I didn't have to pay attention to. Like so many of you I thought my thoughts were real, were trying to tell me something, making me fearful. It feels IMPOSSIBLE to not be anxious or negative...


If you remember nothing else about this article just remember that you have the power to refocus yourself and let go of your worries if you enact some good techniques.

4. Worrying Solves Nothing, Let It Go
I remember reading a book and the point was raised that there is no actual benefit to worrying...um what? Well that was my response but it is the truth, anxiety comes from fear, fear comes from the thoughts you're having, often the unchallenged thoughts you're holding onto. 

The Centre for Clinical Interventions have some of the most wonderful worksheets which I highly recommend.

5. Moving Past Your Thoughts
So here's how to do it! With a little practice this mindfulness combo can quickly become your salvation, it acknowledges that thoughts are transient little rascals and shows you how to take a step back and deal with every single worry that pops into your head and take control back. 

'Be Aware
The first thing is to be aware and acknowledge the presence of worries. You can’t let go of something if you don’t know you have it in the first place. So, the first thing you should do is just notice and acknowledge that you are worrying. You might do this by saying to yourself: “Here comes a worry…” or “A worry has arrived…” or “I notice I am worrying…”

'Don’t Respond 
The next thing to do is not to respond to your worries. As we have already said, normally you would engage with your worries, chase them around, or try and control them in some way. Instead, don’t do anything to your worries. Just observe your worries with interest. Don’t judge them or react to them. Describe to yourself the thoughts, feelings, and sensations you are experiencing right at that moment. Just allow the worries to be, without responding to them or trying to change them in any way. '

'Let Go 
Only after fully acknowledging, observing, and describing the worries you have in your mind, can you then make the decision to let the worries go. Think of letting the worries just pass by like clouds moving slowly across the sky or leaves floating in a stream. Release the worries and let them wash over you – let them go. You might do this by saying to yourself: “My worries are not facts, realities, or truths…they are just thoughts…they aren’t helpful to me…I’ll just let them go”.  '

'Be Present-Focused
 Once you have told yourself to let the worries go or pass, it is important to focus your attention on the present moment. When you worry, you are focused on the future and bad things that could happen. Instead, if you focus on the simple things happening in the present moment, it is impossible to worry. 

Let’s give it a try. Why don’t you start by noticing your breathing and what it is like at that moment. Draw your attention to all the different physical sensations you might feel as you inhale and exhale. Notice the physical sensations you have in your body as you are standing or sitting. Become aware of how your body makes contact with the environment around you (e.g., the chair, the ground, the air) and what these sensations of touch and pressure feel like. For example, notice how your feet feel in your shoes or sandals. Do they feel warm or cool? Do they feel dry or a little clammy? Wiggle your toes a little – how does that feel? 

Now … what did you observe about yourself as you did this exercise? Did you notice that there probably wasn’t a lot of room in your mind for worries?  '

If you're affected by anxiety and persistent worrying, do feel free to talk to someone, it can feel very isolating, but do try that little CBT technique and practise it until you've got it down.

Much Love and Be Well

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