Is Your Worry Meter Running Nonstop?
By Sandy Schroeder
We all worry sometimes, zeroing in on our family, finances and friends, but nonstop worry can be a hazard to our health and our happiness.
It’s hard to keep everything going when the brain is constantly generating new worries. It’s also not a lot of fun. If you are so afraid of what might happen, you may miss the real joys that could be happening right now.
Psychology Today suggests simple ways to calm your mind and stop relentless worries.
Put a mantra to work – Choose a word or short phrase to repeat to soothe your mind. Repeating a phrase such as, “It’s all OK,” may block the part of the brain that circles back to the past and spins new worries for the future. You can use this mantra anywhere you go, whenever worries start to bubble up.
Run interference using positives – When your brain begins to dream up reasons why you have not heard from your friends, blot out a negative assumption like they forgot you with a positive suggestion like they are probably overloaded with work.
Hang out in the present – Instead of spinning around in thoughts of past history or zooming forward to picture an impending disaster, think about what you are doing right now. Smell the pasta cooking, enjoy the sound of music in the background, or smile as you watch your cat slowly approach, reminding you it is time to eat again.
Gradually, as you concentrate on being in the present, you may spend more time with friends or volunteer at a local hospital, library, or animal shelter. Whatever works to keep you involved will leave less time and energy for needless worry.
Park your thoughts on paper – If the worries just won’t let go, write them down and tuck them into a folder. Just writing them down can reduce their grip. It also lets you organize your thoughts, and even dismiss some as you take a closer look at them. I sometimes do this when I find my mind jumping from one concern to another. Just the act of outlining the categories slows the worry down.
Use your breath – Count to 3 breathing in, and to 5 as you breathe out. Let the rest of your thoughts go and focus on your breath. When your mind tries to dart back to a worry, start over and repeat the breathing again.
As you try various techniques to control worry, keep the ones that work the best. If worries continue to dominate your life, you may want to see your doctor and consider seeing a psychologist.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Fayetteville, N.C.