Monday, January 17, 2011

Day 13 - Worry much?

Remember those "What Ifs..." from Friday (Day 12)? Well, as I mentioned, the root cause of these two ever-so- frustrating words is, worry. Why do we worry? Well I think it gives us a sense of control. I had a realization a few years ago. I was wondering why I worry and stress out so much when a friend or family member is going through something hard. I concluded that for some twisted reason, I feel like I care more if I think about the situation constantly. And if I let it go or manage to have some fun in the meantime, it means I'm not caring enough. Like I said, twisted. But have you ever thought that before?

I hear this from people dealing with grief (and have experienced it as well). After a certain amount of time has passed, you actually find yourself wanting to have fun again or at least not be sad 24/7. And once the more pleasant feelings begin to crop up, you immediately feel guilty, like it's somehow wrong to feel that way after something so tragic occurred.

Worrying about someone does not mean we love or care about them. Worrying doesn't give us control over anything either. In fact, the opposite ends up happening when our worrying starts to spiral; we start to feel like we're spiraling out of control too. Until we begin to believe  - truly believe - that worrying serves no purpose, it will be hard to stop. Trust me.

I have said it before and I'll say it again, knowledge is power. Becoming aware is the first step. As you consciously begin to notice when any of the negative thought patterns surface, you can replace them with more positive thoughts. You can change negative "What Ifs" into positive ones. You can balance out extreme thoughts with more realistic ones. You can change your shoulds into coulds as Coach Carrie so eloquently commented the other day!

A couple more techniques:

* Write your worries down. Do you keep a journal? Journaling can be a wonderful way to get your worries out of your head and onto a sheet of paper instead.

* Take your mind off your worries by doing Progressive Muscle Relaxation (see Day 5) or the simple, yet effective counting backwards exercise (see Day 6). Not only will these serve to relax your body but they will also help you focus on something other than your worries.

I hope these help! See you tomorrow!

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